Game Based Learning: The Phases of Acceptance

Designing Digitally


game-based learning

Change can be hard to accept. Old ways of thinking and comfortable routines can overshadow the very thought of integrating anything new into a tried and true processes. Two things are true about education and technology: they are ever-changing and they are ever-improving. The elearning developer’s impact on education continues to grow. Though that may be hard for some to wrap their minds around, it’s a good thing for the learners of today.

The acceptance of game based learning into educational philosophy and practice can be viewed as a five-phase process. Though it happens gradually, the important thing is that the process is happening.

Phase one: Disapproval

In the first stage of the process, there is a refusal to accept that game based learning is a viable option. When new concepts are broached, they are tossed out without much consideration of the future benefits and effects. Skeptics aren’t even willing to give it a try. Many times educators or trainers will deny that there could be any value to the new idea that’s being offered.

Take for example a young executive, specializing in corporate training, who joins a team that does not use much technology in their process. The new guy knows the benefits of game based learning and has worked with elearning developers to create solid training games. He broaches the subject with his new coworkers and is promptly shut down without question.

Phase Two: Indignation

When someone feels something new is being forced upon them, like the coworkers, their reaction can be negative. This is especially true when they have been doing the same thing, the same way for a long period of time. The proposed integration of game based learning can come as an affront to administrators, educators, or trainers who don’t understand it and don’t think it’s necessary.

Phase Three: Exchange

In the third phase, the skeptics begin to turn a corner. They propose a trade-off to implement game based learning. If they can be guaranteed to receive something, it may be worth the perceived risk to try game based learning. This type of response shows that the idea is beginning to take root, slowly, but it isn’t ready to be fully embraced.

Phase Four: Despondency

By this phase in the process, the feeling towards game based learning is one of begrudging compliance. It’s time to return to the earlier example of the young executive who wishes to integrate game based learning into the corporate training program. In this scenario, the other members of the team have moved through the phases and are now at a point where they are accepting of the fact that the changes are happening, but they still aren’t happy about it and view it as doomed to fail.

Phase Five: Acceptance

In this final stage, the formerly skeptical educators or trainers are beginning to see enough benefit to the new training method. They may have even decided that elearning developers do know what they’re talking about after all. The reformed educators or executives are ready to get behind the transition because they see it resulting in a more comprehensive learning experience.

As each phase unfolds, the level of acceptance grows until it gets to a point that those who were initially resistant come around to a more open open-minded view of game based learning and the benefits it provides.