Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
increases, educators and practitioners are continu-
ally seeking new ways to facilitate and improve
instruction using technology. The integration of
multimedia into instruction has received wide
acceptance. Lever-Duffy, McDonald and Mizell
2008) argue that multimedia can positively impact
all the senses through which learning occurs.
These authors argue that audio (sound), video
(visual) and kinesthetic (movement and activ-
ity based) can reinforce learning by stimulating
sensory awareness simultaneously. In spite of
the use of multimedia to facilitate instruction,
achieving effective learning outcome for many
students remains a perennial problem. Lack of
motivation among students has been seen as a
hindrance to learning. The focus has now shifted
from multimedia to computer games as possible
motivating tools for achieving effective learning.
The essence of this chapter is to critically assess
the claim that computer games can be used to
facilitate learning, motivate students to learn as
well sustain learning.
process of learning. Such assumption ignores
the logic upon which computer games and other
forms of games are rationalized which is to have
fun. Learning on the other hand is a more seri-
ous endeavor. Generally, games are perceived
as pastime, amusement and entertainment. Such
perception has not changed.
Pitzer (2007) believes that people's percep-
tion of a problem shapes their definition of such
problem. Using computer games as motivational
devices for learning may require a change in their
perception. The idea will be to portray computer
games as fun but also to show that serious strate-
gies and activities are incorporated into games so
that they can be used to enhance learning outside
the confine of the game environment. This in part
means that computer games will not focus exclu-
sively on fairy tales, fantasies or virtual images.
Unfortunately, these attributes are fundamental
to computer games and they represent avenues
through which games generate fun and engage
Learning implies the acquisition of knowledge
which involves applying knowledge, synthesiz-
ing knowledge, transferring knowledge including
evaluating knowledge (Bloom, 1956). These
characteristics of learning make it a job oriented
activity as opposed to computer games that are per-
ceived as fun activities. Lever-Duffy, McDonald
and Mizell 2008) have indicated that “learning is
a transfer of knowledge that can be ensured only
when all the components of the process have been
incorporated in the learning event” (p. 10). Ahn
Liu & Blum (2006) explain that “despite colossal
advances over the past 50 years, computers still
don't possess the basic conceptual intelligence or
perceptual capabilities that most humans take for
granted” (p. 96).
It is pertinent that we examine the perception that
guides the development of computer games before
considering its motivational influence on learning.
Game industries are hard at work trying to develop
computer and video games that they claim can be
used to facilitate learning and motivate students to
learn. The key word is motivation; it is an abstract
concept which has several attributes. Because of
the elusive properties that make up the word mo-
tivation , behavioral and cognitive psychologists,
curriculum specialists and other practitioners have
not been able to develop reliable, measurable and
inspiring activities that can stimulate students to
learn. It is ironical to assume that somehow com-
puter game designers can produce games that will
motivate students to learn despite the advances
made in gaming industry without examining the
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