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Journal Issue
Volume 10 Issue 2, Special ECGBL Issue / Jul 2012  pp159‑256

Editor: Dimitris Gouscos

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Framing the Adoption of Serious Games in Formal Education  pp159‑171

Sylvester Arnab, Riccardo Berta, Jeffrey Earp, Sara de Freitas, Maria Popescu, Margarida Romero, Ioana Stanescu, Mireia Usart

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Inferring a Learner´s Cognitive, Motivational and Emotional State in a Digital Educational Game  pp172‑184

Michael Bedek, Paul Seitlinger, Simone Kopeinik, Dietrich Albert

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Becoming Chemists through Game‑based Inquiry Learning: The Case of Legends of Alkhimia  pp185‑198

Yam San Chee, Kim Chwee Daniel Tan

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Playing in School or at Home? An Exploration of the Effects of Context on Educational Game Experience  pp199‑208

Frederik De Grove, Jan Van Looy, Joyce Neys, Jeroen Jansz

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Sustainability Learning through Gaming: An Exploratory Study  pp209‑222

Carlo Fabricatore, Ximena López

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Leadership in MMOGs: A Field of Research on Virtual Teams  pp223‑234

Sofia Mysirlaki, Fotini Paraskeva

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Students Constructionist Game Modelling Activities as Part of Inquiry Learning Processes  pp235‑248

Zacharoula Smyrnaiou, Moustaki Foteini, Chronis Kynigos

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The place of game‑based learning in an age of austerity  pp249‑256

Nicola Whitton

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Abstract

Digital games have the potential to create active and engaging environments for learning, supporting problem‑solving, communication and group activities, as well as providing a forum for practice and learning through failure. The use of game techniques such as gradually increasing levels of difficulty and contextual feedback support learning, and they can motivate users, using challenges and rewards, competition and mystery. Above all, computer games provide safe spaces in which learners can play, explore, experiment, and have fun. However, finding appropriate games for specific educational contexts is often problematic. Commercial entertainment games are designed for enjoyment, and may not map closely to desired learning outcomes, and the majority of educators do not have the time or specialist expertise to create their own games. Computer games are expensive to purchase or produce, and learners, particularly busy adult learners, need to be convinced of their effectiveness. So while there are many theoretical benefits to the use of computer games for learning, it given the increasing economic constraints in education, their use may simply not be practical. This paper presents three alternative ways in which the theory and practice of computer games can be applied to education, without the expense. First, the option of developing simple and cost‑effective games with low technical specifications, such as alternate reality games, or using virtual worlds or one of the growing number of accessible game‑builder toolkits to create educational games, will be explored. Second, learning from games rather than with them is discussed, examining game techniques that naturally enhance learning, and embedding those elements in traditional teaching practices. Third, the paper presents the option of giving learners agency as game creators rather than simply players, so that it becomes the process, not the product, which facilitates learning. The advantages and drawbacks of each approach are discussed, looking at both practical and pedagogic issues. In this way, the paper aims to offer alternative ways of thinking about the potential of digital games for learning, and present possible solutions to the increasing financial constraints that face the field. 

 

Keywords: budget constraints, alternative approaches, game development, theory

 

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