Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
also be used to reward students for working hard
or as a change of pace in the classroom.
The literature identifies a close relationship
between educational games and learning. Randel,
Morris, Wetzel, and Whitehill (1992) stated that
educational games can increase the motivation
to learn. Terrell and Rendulic (1996) specifically
indicated that games increase students' internal
motivation as well as their learning performances.
Prensky (2003) pointed out that from the per-
spective of successful learning, motivation is an
indispensable condition and that games just hap-
pen to provide such a condition. In their research,
Schwabe and Göth (2005) applied games in their
learning activities, which not only increase the
motivation of the students but also increase the
opportunity for them to interact with one another.
Motivation is not the only advantage of games.
Games can be used in variety of classroom settings
as an effective way to gain student attention to
learn a specific topic or skill (Smaldino, Lowther,
& Russell, 2008). Good instructional games have
to be designed to attract students, engage students,
and reward students for achieving the planned
Because of the orientation to winning, games
can be competitive unless caution is used, and the
learning outcomes may be 'lost' because of the
intention to win rather than to learn (Smaldino,
et al., 2008). Sometimes, less able students may
also find the game structure too fast or difficult to
participate. In addition, some researchers (Randel,
Morris, Wetzel, & Whitehall, 1992; Vogel et al.,
2006) indicated that that they found no clear causal
relationship between academic performance and
the use of computer games. Another common
skepticism of using computer games for learning
purposes is the lack of an empirical framework
for integrating computer game into classrooms.
As Squire's stated (as cited in Ke, 2008), bring-
ing a computer game into classrooms may raise
many issues. For example, playing games does
not interest every student, and students may be
distracted by game-playing, and not achieve the
learning goals (Miller, Lehman, & Koedinger,
1999). Furthermore, students may fail to extract
intended knowledge from a complicated gaming
environment (as cited in Ke, 2008), and some
researchers (Smith & Mann, 2002) indicated
making games where the objective is to facilitate
students' learning will risk sacrificing the game
part along the way.
The development and introduction of appropriate
games has to complement and promote learning
so that students can play to learn, and teachers can
address a multitude of learning styles while having
students demonstrate mastery of specific content.
Given the potential benefits of instructional
games, an increasing number of educators and
instructional designers are developing and uti-
lizing computer games for use in K-12, higher
education, and business and industry settings to
facilitate the achievement of a variety of learn-
ing outcomes. However, the problem is that little
research is available related to how established
learning theories and instructional strategies are
being applied when designing educational games.
The following components are seen by the authors
as important trends, issues and concerns associated
with computer games for teaching and learning.
Integrating Edutainment
(Gaming-Based Learning)
The use of educational games in learning environ-
ments is an increasingly relevant trend. According
to Etuk (2008), the use of games in education, also
known as edutainment, began around 1984 when
a teacher named Jan Davidson created a software
program for use on a newfangled contraption called
the Apple II personal computer. ''Edutainment'' is
a hybrid genre that relies heavily on visual mate-
rial, on narrative or game-like formats, and on
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