The recent pandemic has dramatically changed the way in which students learn. Educational institutions have been pushed to conduct online classes to keep things as normal as possible for students. To cope with this changed situation and make remote learning interesting, educational institutions have incorporated different learning techniques and tools.
Online learning games are an effective way to keep learners engaged, motivated and attentive towards their lessons. Different types of educational games are being incorporated in the curriculum to reduce monotony during remote learning. Online learning games are especially conducive to improving the critical thinking capability of learners while learning a particular subject. Games can even enhance their interest in a specific subject. Subjects like science and math are sometimes complicated to understand but learning games can make them interesting and fun.
Role of online learning games in K-12 education
1. Keeps the learners engaged
The use of online games in learning is not only fun but also engaging for students. Learning games encourage students to actively participate in the learning process and keep them focused on their learning.
2. Helps retain information
Learning games are meant to provide knowledge through practical instances, where students understand concepts through participation in virtual scenarios. Instead of memorizing lessons, online games allow students to practice critical theories by solving the problems of real-world situations.
3. Improves soft skills
Using games as a learning tool is an effective way to improve the learners’ soft skills. Each game comes with a set of predefined rules, and the learners need to understand and follow the rules to achieve a high score and move to the next level.
This organized system makes students focus on the conceptual part of the learning and apply their knowledge in order to achieve success. So, learners focus on conceptual learning and its application rather than just knowledge gathering.
4. Beneficial for students with attention disorders
Learning games are a good alternative to capture students’ attention as games are much more interesting than traditional learning. Most of the students consider games as a fun way of learning. In fact, research shows that online learning games can even help those students who experience attention problems.
5. Teaches other skills
Games are collaborative; they can be used to teach different skills like problem-solving, sportsmanship, interaction and collaboration with peers. Some games need players to make quick decisions in a low risk setting, which helps boost the learner’s confidence in tackling challenges later. These features make students more adaptive in any real-world situation.
Factors to consider while incorporating online learning games in K-12 curriculum
When you are planning to incorporate learning games in the curriculum, you need to consider multiple things, such as-
Students’ grade: When incorporating online games in learning infrastructure, make sure they are compatible with the general intelligence of students of a particular grade.
The main purpose of a learning game: Apart from being fun, learning games are intended to impart knowledge, develop soft skills, and improve knowledge retention.
Type of learning game to incorporate: Students should be provided with different types of games. That is because implementation of similar kinds of games repetitively can lead to monotony.
Expected outcome: Learning games need to be structured in a way that can deliver the expected outcomes.
Apart from these, you need to be careful about course content, budget, and institutional culture before making an appropriate online learning game for a particular grade level.
Types of learning games suitable for the K-12 curriculum
1. Role-play games
In role-play games, learners must take on the role of a character. These games are designed with a strong narrative, and the students need to role play, make decisions on behalf of the character, and complete the tasks. Online role-playing games are useful to improve the soft skills of the learners and also help in empathy development.
2. Timed games
In these games, students have to work against the clock to complete a challenge. Playing against time adds a new dimension to learning tasks. Timed games are designed to improve engagement and allow the learners to practice quick decision-making.
3. Collaborative games
Collaborative games are designed to enhance the collaboration between learners. Here learners need to work together to finish a task. These games are good to improve the team-play spirit among learners.
4. Detective games
These are basically quiz or puzzle type games where the learners have to explore the game and try to solve a mystery, puzzle, or challenge to complete a particular level. These types of online learning games are useful to develop the students’ problem-solving skills, check their depth of knowledge, and test the observation capacity of the student.
5. Competitive games
These games are designed to introduce healthy competition among learners to uplift the overall performance of the class. Here, the learners have to compete as individuals or a team, earn points and win the challenge. Competitive games can be used as a performance-enhancing tool.
Simulations are animated models that mimic real-life scenarios. These are instructional scenarios where students are placed in a virtual world defined by the teacher, and have to interact within this virtual reality.
These are short games designed to incorporate within or alongside the digital course content. These are the best options to support any particular lesson objectives.
8. Interactive games
These games are designed with simple cause and effect interactions. These are helpful for learners to visualize or reinforce a key concept.
In a remote learning scenario, online learning games can definitely boost the learning experience and help students to engage better with the content. Besides knowledge acquisition, online learning games help in soft skill development like critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, and decision making. Therefore, educational institutions must consider incorporating learning games in the K-12 curriculum to make learning fun for students.
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