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For as long as there have been people on the Earth, they have been trying to find ways to entertain themselves. From the most rudimentary rock and stick games to the most advanced digital games of today, humans have sought enjoyment from play.
One of the principal goals of eLearning blogs is to highlight the educational advantages of the most current forms of elearning gaming. Nevertheless, a game doesn’t have to be in a digital form to be educationally cutting-edge. Board games can still be a relevant learning tool provided the games chosen require some specific skills.
First, there are a few kinds of games to avoid when learning is the goal.
Though the entertainment value of a game is left up to the individual, in terms of learning, there are some characteristics to avoid.
It has no clear goal or point. Even young learners benefit from a game that requires them to pursue a specific ending objective. The same is true at any level. Learning is not as likely to happen when the goal isn’t clear.
It doesn’t teach any particular skill or lesson. While a game may be considered fun, it isn’t as beneficial in an educational respect when a specific skill isn’t being introduced or reinforced.
It relies on chance or luck. There is little instructional value in a game that is largely determined by the roll of a die or the spin of a wheel. The luck of the draw doesn’t teach anything beyond how to be a good winner and avoid being a sore loser.
It doesn’t require any decision-making skills. Making decisions that affect the outcome of the game is a valuable learning tool.
It’s boring. No one wants to play a game that isn’t entertaining or engaging. It is very unlikely that any substantial learning would happen either.
It’s repetitive. While repetition is a valuable learning tool on its own, when it is coupled with the other factors already mentioned, it has no real instructional worth.
On the other side of the games-for-learning equation are the qualities that give educational value to board games.
Critical thinking skills - Using one’s brain to analyze a situation and make a judgment is one of the higher-order thinking skills that are important for development. A game that encourages learning will require this of the players.
Useful skills such as math, geography, and other academic areas - A game that asks the users to employ these types of skills is always a great way to impart learning while maintaining an element of fun.
Strategy and problem-solving - Games with clear objectives will cause the players to get creative with their strategies and will also force them to use out-of-the-box thinking in order to be successful.
Real-world situations - Going for games that mimic realistic scenarios enhances the likelihood that the skills used in the game will carry over into real-life choices.
The individual determines the amount of enjoyment they get from any game, be it one that is viewed as silly and pointless from an academic standpoint, or one that is more educationally sound.
If education is the goal, look for board games with the same qualities found in the digital games that are touted by elearning blogs.