Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
CONSTRUCTIVIST LEARNING
THEORY AND COMPUTER GAMES
answer to the content and its veracity. In games, if
one needs a new element to make the work, it can
be created. While elements in learning environ-
ment may be manufactured, it could never be at
the expense of the content (p. 5).
Most educational institutions encourage the use
of constructivist learning theories as foundation
for designing and delivering instruction. Con-
structivists believe in providing rich and authentic
learning environment where students collaborate
and share ideas (Okojie, Olinzock, Adams and
Okojie-Boulder (2008). Computer games are
rooted on individual triumph by emphasizing on
personal win and not on collaboration and sharing
of ideas. Bruner (1966) indicates that learning
involves sharing of ideas. Computer gamers focus
on out-witting their opponents for the purpose of
winning. Jonassen (1991) maintains that “instruc-
tion should be anchored in some meaningful, real-
world context” (p. 29). Bruner argues eloquently
that the primary function of education is to help
individuals acquire knowledge and to use such
knowledge to create other knowledge and not
to make living library of people. It is not clear
how using computer games as learning tools can
aid transfer learning because in most cases the
knowledge acquired from games may not reflect
real-life situation. Karagiorgi and Symeou (2005)
argue that knowledge involves scaffolding where
students are guided by what they already know
and transition to the unknown by exploring their
learning environment and related situations or ac-
tivities. Computer games do not offer opportunity
to engage in scaffolding or exploration. Ericksen
(1984) has succulently summarized the practice
of good learning and it is thus described:
Facer (2002) has also made similar observation
as Jones when the former states that:
It is repeatedly pointed out, for example, that young
people of their own volition choose to spend many
hours playing complex computer games outside
school. Games, it seems, have something', they
seem to have a way of engaging and interesting
young people. The desire to harness this motiva-
tional power to encourage young people to learn
is the main driver behind an interest in computer
games for learning (p.1).
Transfer learning is critical in any learning
environment and a good teacher will always
endeavor to assist students transfer learning
outcome to workplace environment. This means
that students are required to complete real life
challenging activities as part of their lessons. In
computer game, such requirement is not the norm
because of the fairy tale characteristic of games.
This shows that computer game players live in
the present that exists in a vacuum. It also seems
that computer games do not allow for reflective
learning. Prensky (2001) states that “reflection is
what enables us according to many theorists, to
generalize from experience” (p. 50). According
to Okojie, Okojie-Boulder & Boulder (2008),
“reflection involves turning the topic over and
over mentally or probing the topic being examined
as a process of understanding the underlying as-
sumption” (p.154). Computer games may not in
most cases offer opportunity that requires gamers
to spending time on reflective learning activities
or scaffolding.
Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do
not learn much just by sitting in class listening to
teachers, memorizing pre-packaged assignment
and spitting out answers. They must talk about
what they are learning, write it, relate it to past
experiences, apply it to their daily lives (p. 51).
The characteristics of computer games do not
seem to match Ericksen's description of effective
Search Nedrilad ::




Custom Search