Serious Games: Why Are They Flourishing

Designing Digitally


Serious Games

An engaged learner is a successful learner. Research has shown that learning games are more effective educational activities than other methods.

Elearning companies have capitalized on the growth of serious games and are designing products to meet the needs of various learners, from schools to corporations.

The word “game” has a negative connotation to some with regard to learning activities. They view it as a barrier to education, as opposed to an asset. Some of the confusion comes from the fact that many don’t understand why games are so successful as learning tools.

Why Do Games Work?

Elearning companies are constantly researching and assessing the efficacy of their products. One of the reasons that serious learning games appeal to a broad audience is simply the fun factor. Having fun has a universal appeal. Everyone likes to have fun.

But, there has to be more. What is the link between fun and learning? Here are some of the reasons learning in a fun environment helps organizations be successful.

  • A feeling of achievement. Who doesn’t like to feel like they have accomplished something? Learners of all ages are motivated to learn and do more by a sense of accomplishment.
  • Teamwork. Learning is enhanced by the opportunity to collaborate with others to solve a problem or reach a goal.
  • Research and Analysis.  Curiosity drives learning. There is an enjoyment that comes with discovering new things. Elearning companies are developing games that guide the user through any number of exciting experiences.
  • Using Strategy. Game-based learning provides the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills that can translate into real-life situations. Many people enjoy the mental challenge of arriving at solutions.
  • Exercising the Imagination. Simulation games allow the user to put themselves directly into a story. Viewing a situation from various angles deepens learning and enhances comprehension.

Components of Learning

There are some fundamental ingredients elearning companies must include within a serious game in order for it to be an effective learning tool.

  • Incentive. There must be clear goals that the learner is working toward as they go through the game experience. Periodic rewards motivate the user to strive to reach higher and higher levels.
  • Practice. Games that are learning-based are designed for a particular context. The process of the game allows the user to practice what they are learning, without suffering a real-world consequence for failure.
  • Immediate Feedback. Receiving a quick assessment for work has much value for a learner. They are able to make corrections immediately and change course, if necessary.
  • Repetition. The repetition of information causes it to become a part of the memory. Many learning games utilize the same steps, over and over. When a real-life situation arises, the necessary information is easier to recall due to the mental rehearsal that has already taken place.

Elearning Companies and the Future of Learning Games

The future is bright for the elearning companies that understand the elements that make a serious game effective. Technology has brought a fresh outlook to educational practices and the benefit to learners is substantial. It is an exciting time for both learners and game based learning designers.