How Game-Based Learning Is Transforming Adult Education

By eLearning Inside
March 12, 2020

Using games to educate and train people is nothing new. Everyone has been part of a team-building exercise that was based loosely around the idea of a game of charades or partaken in a training day that involved some variety of competitive team activity. But the advent of digital and online gaming has blown open the possibilities available to educators everywhere. We’ve collated some of the ways these new digital and online gaming applications are changing the way people learn out in the real world.

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Pilots Fly Digitally Before Doing it for Real

Flight simulators are nothing new, with both military and civilian pilots being trained on digital flight simulators of one form or another since as early as the 1950s. Simulators are now so advanced that you can learn the essentials of how to fly virtually any aircraft in the world from the comfort of your desktop, thanks to programs like Xplane, and even Take On Helicopters for those who prefer to learn how to fly choppers instead of jets.

Colleges Use Games to Find Gaps in Student Learning Programs

Although multimedia has been used for years on university campuses, the great new thing about learning via digital games is that a teacher is able to track the progress any particular student is making, using the data created each time a student plays to better curate their individually tailored program of learning. Many U.S.-based colleges are already way ahead of the curve, with the likes of the University of Michigan adopting such programs and NYU even running a course on how students can develop the game-based learning platforms of the future.

Training Games Designed to Make you Better at Life

Of course, education doesn’t always have to be geared towards revision for an exam or a training evaluation at work. Sometimes people want to educate themselves on how to get better at their hobbies or to overcome obstacles they encounter in their daily lives. Whether it is playing games on language learning apps like Duolingo, honing their skills at PokerStars’ Poker School or just giving their brains a general workout with Lumosity, mobile games in particular are helping people better themselves every day, whenever and wherever they please.

Connecting with Students Alienated by Traditional Education

Many adults look back on their formative education with a mixture of dread and loathing, remembering schooling techniques and practices that presumed everyone was the same, and could, therefore, absorb and understand information the same way. As our understanding of different learning processes and behavioral disorders improves, games are paving the way for the new generation to have their independent needs better catered to. A recent publication by academic January Burak and journalist Laura Parker even argued that some educational games could help to better engage and help people with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and other similar conditions.

Why Games Make Adults Think More Than Other Mediums

As any adult will know, the older you get the more difficult it becomes to cram new information into your increasingly stubborn cranium. Games can be perfect for making the more aged brain supple enough that it will quickly once again become a veritable sponge, ready to soak up every drop of information it can possibly hold. Studies have shown that adults take a long time to get warmed up in a classroom, but a game can blow off the cobwebs in the blink of an eye, setting the groundwork for a fruitful lesson. Older folk are often reticent to mingle with classmates, but an interactive game can break the ice like nothing else. Language learners will be all too aware of how hard it becomes in later life to recall vast lists of vocabulary, but games enable your brain to find more interactive and interesting ways of memorizing said vocab, with special moments and in-game situations harking students back to the words they wish to recount, to that boggled looking waiter or hard of hearing barman.

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Featured Image: Erik McLean, Unsplash.