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Game Theory in Education

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Steve Bridges

on 2 June 2015

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Transcript of Game Theory in Education

Game based learning (GBL), as the name implies, focuses on using games as learning tools in and out of the classroom. Though there are many more, we focus on the following aspects of games based learning theory:
Active Learning

Active Learning
“All aspects of the learning environment…are set up to encourage active and critical, not passive, learning” (James Paul. Gee, 2003 p. 207)

GBL allows participants hands-on interaction with the subject. They do not simply receive information, they are an active part of creating it.
"Garris, Ahlers, and Driskell (2002) suggested that well-designed games can be valuable learning tools because they motivate students to participate in extensive practice of targeted skills in a system that requires students to engage in both repetitive and decision-making processes" (Garris, et. al, as cited in Reese & Wells, 2007, p.547)

As many of us personally attest, it's easy to get lost in a well-designed game. GBL ties this compusivity to learning goals.

"Games and simulations, in addition to motivating students, offer the opportunity
for experiential learning, which entails active and reflective engagement with the
material on the part of the student" (Reese & Wells, 2007, p.546)

An active learner is an engaged learner. Games can connect learners to subjects on a deeper level than more passive activities, such as lecture.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing" - attributed to George Bernard Shaw
Steve Bridges, Tom Krabbenhoft, AHE 586, June 8, 2015
James Paul. Gee. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy (1st ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Reese, C., & Wells, T. (2007). Teaching academic discussion skills with a card game. Simulation & Gaming, 38(4), 546–555. http://doi.org/10.1177/1046878107308063

Mayer, I., Warmelink, H., & Bekebrede, G. (2013). Learning in a game-based virtual environment: a comparative evaluation in higher education. European Journal of Engineering Education, 38(1), 85–106. http://doi.org/10.1080/03043797.2012.742872

Bellotti, F., Berta, R., De Gloria, A., & Primavera, L. (2010). Supporting authors in the development of task-based learning in serious virtual worlds. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(1), 86–107. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.01039.x

Education and Games:
Active Learning, Engagement, and Motivation: A Journey of Discovery
Quality Matters
Students motivation and attitudes towards game-based learning before the game, their actual enjoyment, their efforts during the tame and the quality of the facilitator/teacher are most strongly correlated with their learning satisfaction...[and ]...the degree to which the game experiences are translated back into underlying theories markedly determines the students' learning satisfaction, (Mayer et al., 2013 p.98)."

Not just any old game will work. It needs to be appropriate to the context and enjoyable to play.
...[Serious virtual worlds] represent a great opportunity for learning, and it is important that they embed a lot of high-quality contextualized information so that the player can take the most from his or her exploration, (Bellotti, Berta, De Gloria and Primavera, 2010, p. 87)."

The GBL experience provided in this example is highly contextualized in the complexity of information providing the learner from the abilities and knowledge base of attorneys operating in the office, constitutional law principles, interactions with the public (clients) and managing the marketing and day to day operations of the office. This richness of environment provides several layers of immersion for the learner to explore, absorb and assimilate via a game-based learning experience.
Context Matters
Task based learning theory (TBL) (Willis & Willis, 1996) "highlights the importance of concrete, focused activities to construct knowledge and develop skills. Tasks are activities characterized by the following" an ability to engage the learner's interest, a primary focus on meaning, a need to be completed, an outcome in terms of which the success is judged and a clear relationship with real-world activities, (Willis, as quoted by Bellotti, Berta, De Gloria and Primavera, 2010, p. 88)."

The GBL experience selected for this exercise exemplifies the above in that it has specific tasks needing to be completed in certain sequences mirroring real-world management of a legal practice. The example provided provides an opportunity to learn more than constitutional amendments. it also includes a virtual "hands on" training opportunity involving complex business practices such as management, leadership development, and personnel decision making; all necessary to succeed in growing a successful private law office.
Application Matters
Almost there!
Would You Like To Play A Game?
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