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Serious educational games have changed the way individuals learn, obtain information, and develop various skill sets. Serious games are more than just a form of entertainment; they are a strategic tool that educators and business owners alike are using. Games not only promote increased learning and give people realistic scenarios that work to improve their overall skill set and understanding of a specific subject, but they do so in a way that is entertaining and engaging. Integrating game-based learning practices into classrooms and businesses allows for information to be delivered in a way that is highly interactive and accessible to users 24/7.
Serious educational games are immersive and require a higher degree of engagement than traditional training and learning tactics. Games provide rewarding, safe, and relevant learning environments that allow users to put into practice what they have learned. Users are motivated and encouraged throughout the duration of the game, typically through a reward system that helps them advance while learning new skills.
The high level of interactivity that is a characteristic of game-based learning is both fun and effective. Serious educational games are often games of strategy that help develop excellent problem solving abilities and other skills that can be used in the workforce and everyday life. Because these games require engagement and use thought-provoking tactics, they work to deepen an individual's knowledge, skills, and competencies.
Another bonus to game-based learning and a reason why serious games are, in essence the future of learning, is the ability to individualize each and every experience. Smart phones, tablets, and laptops allow for online learning that can be pursued at a different time and pace for each person. The Internet gives students and employees the option of playing whenever is convenient, as long as there is an Internet connection available. This is important because, as everybody learns differently, serious games give individuals a way to personalize their learning path. Additionally, game-based learning is effective because it promotes learner control, allowing people to go back and redo a complex task or portion of the game that they may have struggled with.
Lastly, game-based learning is important because it uses and promotes technologies that are shaping the future. Because of the velocity in which technology has become such a huge part of virtually every aspect of our lives, it is no wonder that the skill sets and problem-solving abilities of employees and new graduates must change.
These changes mean that people must now work smarter, understanding the global implications of technology and learning new ways to communicate, make decisions, and address larger societal problems. Serious games promote these new skills by serving as an intelligent and practical way to train individuals on what is most current and relevant. As this is ever-changing, the role of serious games will continue to play an integral role in how knowledge is obtained.
A study performed by the University of Colorado Denver in 2010 showed that individuals who received classroom or workforce training through games not only were able to perform their jobs better, but they had a higher retention level of information. This shows the positive effects of serious games and that people respond better in scenarios that actually require them to put theory into practice. It is no secret that playing often translates to learning, which is why games have become such a significant learning tool. Games allow individuals to play smartly through connecting, engaging, strategizing, and problem-solving, all of which are necessary, important skills in everyday life.
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