Game-based Learning

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Why do people play games?

Adrian Camm's Games in Education Wikispaces page

This TED Talk looks at 7 ways games reward the brain

Games have enabled us to study engagement by analysing billions of data points to see what kept people engaged over staggering lengths of time. It comes down to getting the link between problem solving and rewards. Too long between rewards and engagement drops off. Too many rewards ditto.

  • 25% of tasks should be rewarded
  • Maximum of 15-20 items collected before attention wanes
  • Extremely valuable items should be given away 0.1% of the time

This is linked to evolution; we are stimulated by problem-solving and learning. There are 7 key ways games promote engagement:

  1. Experience bars measuring progress. Constantly progressing in tiny increments.
  2. Multiple long and short term aims: it's about doing 10 of these question, another task is turning upo to 10 classes, another is showing you're working five times.
  3. Reward effort. Every time you do something you get rewarded. Effort is never not rewarded.
  4. Give feedback.
  5. An element of uncertainty: the 0.1% chance is a neurological goldmine. An uncertain reward really motivates people and lights the brain up. The neurotransmitter linked to learning is dopamine; it's also the one linked to rewards in games.
  6. Windows or enhanced engagement. At certain times learning takes place at a higher rate. Rewards should be concentrated here.
  7. Other people. This is the biggest neurological turn on for us.

How can what we know about game design be applied to education?

  • Offer people the grand continuity of experience and person investment
  • Break tasks down into highly calibrated small tasks
  • Use calculated randomness
  • Reward effort consistently
  • Use group behaviour when people are at play together.

What do games do to the brain?

Research from NASA and neurological specialists suggests that there may be a natural dopamine reward system in the brain that creates a positive sensation to video gaming. It is sort of like the pleasure sensation that rewards chocolate consumers, in a broad sense. Video games also provide immediate feedback.

Emotional Individual Collective