K12 students must develop critical thinking skills to thrive in today’s digital world. Educators rightly recognize this and are leveraging all tools at their disposal, including K12 learning games.  Game-based learning is one of the most promising tools, as it combines educational instruction with playful entertainment. The result is K12 online learning that helps students to develop critical thinking skills, as they are challenged to make swift, reasoned decisions to advance to the next level in the game, or to win the game. 

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Benefits of Game-Based Learning 

Key Benefits of Game Based Learning

Although the COVID-19 pandemic advanced K12 online learning, using games for educational purposes is not a new concept. Greg Toppo, author of The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter, reminds us that “Teachers have long used pencil-and-paper games, cards, dice, and board games to teach and reinforce key concepts.” 

The advancement of technology only marked a natural progression of gaming in education, according to Rhys James Joyce. “While it’s tempting to see the gamification of education as a new development, there is a long history of children using computer games to help with their learning—which goes right back to the 1970s”. 

So, why have games been used as an educational tool for so long? Simply put, educational games for K12 students offer myriad opportunities to nurture critical thinking skills. Today, those opportunities are online and offer both immediate and long-term benefits.

1. Fosters Engagement

Firstly, K12 online learning games foster engagement and motivation via the incorporation of interactive and immersive experiences. This unique feature makes game-based learning both fun and stimulating. K12 students are more likely to invest time and effort in schoolwork that captures their attention and piques their interest. 

2. Instant Feedback

Game-based learning offers instant feedback, granting students the opportunity to reflect on their choices and consequences, thereby promoting critical thinking. This instant feedback loop helps k-12 students evaluate and, when necessary, adjust their decision-making processes. Furthermore, in some cases, game-based K12 learning games encourage collaboration and communication among peers, cultivating an environment of teamwork and the exchange of ideas.

Game-Based Learning Solutions Bolster Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills 

Promoting critical thinking skills is a key objective of K12 online learning. Game-based learning is the vehicle that brings this objective to fruition. Educational video games are particularly effective in helping students to develop problem-solving and decision-making skills.

 K12 learning games frequently present students with in-game challenges requiring analysis, evaluation, and logic-based decision-making using available information. Each new challenge is effective in honing critical thinking skills as multiple options and outcomes force students to reflect on the choices they made. This reflection and reevaluation are essential to furthering problem-solving capabilities, as it requires creativity, strategic thinking, and adaptability. 

K12 learning games also offer a protected space for students to progress in a safe environment. Allowing students to struggle without real-world consequences, is yet another benefit of game-based K12 online learning.

Finally, including K12 online learning games in the classroom allows students to learn from failure. Failure is a part of life, and all driven people will fail at one time or another. But failure in a game only presents an opportunity for K12 students to continue to work at developing the essential critical thinking skills that will be invaluable in the future. 

K12 Online Learning Games Aid in Information Evaluation and Research Capabilities

Students today are living in the age of information. Although the limitless information available offers endless advantages, in terms of opportunities for learning, academic success, and success in the future, not all information is valuable. Some of it is downright harmful. To that end, students must develop critical thinking regarding information evaluation. But how do K12 online learning games help develop these skills?

Consider that educational video games immerse students in virtual worlds built around Maths, Science, History, etc. As players, the students are required to gather information, filter useless information, question and assess available information, and then appropriately apply critical thinking skills to analyze the information and arrive at the correct solution or resolution.  To put it another way, students learn to analyze and evaluate the credibility, relevance, and bias of different sources. In effect, the games help students sharpen their information evaluation skills by promoting critical thinking. 

Some educational video games are even helpful in enhancing research abilities. K12 online learning games that require players to perform investigations, amass evidence, and then draw reasonable conclusions integrate research into gameplay.  In doing so, students hone critical thinking skills by discerning between opinion and facts. Researching a specific topic, and then applying logic, evaluation, and strategic thinking aids students in finessing their research skills, along with computer literacy skills, which are imperative for success in the digital age.

Also Read: Advantages of Ready-to-use Custom Learning Content For K-12 Students

How Game-Based Assessments Help Educators Adapt to Student Needs

Game-based learning solutions support educators as well as students. Using game-based assessments allows for the swift adjustment of instruction, beginning with lesson plans, through lectures, in-class instruction, and homework assignments.  

Game-based assessments work by collecting data on responses, actions, and scores and providing them to the educator. Unlike a written test, which can provoke stress in students, game-based assessments are widely viewed as less intimidating to students. 

In fact, game-based assessments are so unthreatening that they are even used in hiring practices to measure various qualities in potential candidates. There’s little doubt that students who engage with K12 online learning and game-based assessments will be familiar with the practice as they enter the workforce. 

K12 Online Learning:  Promoting Critical Thinking With Games is a Winning Strategy

Blending engaging entertainment with primary or secondary education, K12 online learning comes to life for students with educational video games. In addition to promoting critical thinking,game-based learning offers a powerful platform for active, experiential learning and the development of vital cognitive capabilities. K12 learning games benefit educators and students alike by fostering engagement, problem-solving, decision-making abilities, information evaluation, and research skills. 

By supplementing classroom instruction, with game-based learning solutions, students are positioned to develop a love of learning and become reasoned, strategic, critical thinkers. As a byproduct of using games in K12 online learning, students also reap the benefits of improved computer literacy.

Learn More About K12 Online Learning Solutions from Hurix and Game Learning

For schools, adopting a game-based learning solution can be a highly cost-effective way for their students to build skills, learn how to collaborate, and stay encouraged and engaged. Game Learning is a leading ed-tech company that creates engaging K12 online learning video games. Hurix Digital has partnered with Game Learning to bring the best interactive game-based learning experience to your students. 

To learn more about Hurix Digital and Game Learning K12 learning games, or to book a free demo, contact us today.

1. What types of challenges do educational games present to promote critical thinking?

A. Educational games can involve decision-making, problem-solving, logical reasoning, strategic planning, and evaluating different options or outcomes, fostering critical thinking skills.

2. How do educational games encourage analysis and evaluation of information?

A. Educational games often provide students with data, clues, or evidence within the game that they need to analyze, evaluate, and interpret to make informed decisions or solve problems.

3. How do educational games foster logical reasoning in students?

A. Educational games often require students to identify patterns, make connections, follow logical sequences, and deduce cause-and-effect relationships to progress in the game.

4. How do educational games teach students to consider multiple perspectives?

A. Educational games can present scenarios or dilemmas where students need to consider different perspectives, analyze diverse viewpoints, and make informed judgments or decisions.

5. Can educational games improve students’ ability to think critically in real-world situations?

A. Yes, the skills developed through critical thinking in educational games can transfer to real-world situations, enabling students to apply logical reasoning, analysis, and evaluation in various contexts outside of the game.