Online virtual games have redefined games as technology continues to reduce the gap between the real and virtual world. With growing awareness of the benefits of online virtual games for learning, educators are trying to adapt to this trend. Virtual games cannot replace some of the established learning methods completely. However, they gain value for being a good educational supplement.
Identifying the right virtual game for the right age is crucial to its success as a learning tool. By outlining the learning objectives, educators can measure the effectiveness of using game-based learning in classrooms. Understanding the ways in which these games benefit children can help you maximize its advantages.
- Context – Virtual games are unique because they promote learning within a well-defined context. Children can learn through simulated experiences. This can be very useful in areas where safety is a concern like driving. Students can safely try out many choices before they master a skill thereby reducing the error rate in real life.
Learning through context also increases the level of engagement. Apart from the focus subject, children also learn to navigate through the virtual world while constantly making sharp observations. This can indirectly train them to respond to situations in real life quickly and accurately.
- Practice – Children don’t mind repetitive steps within the virtual world. They learn by doing things and experimenting with the different ways in which things can be done. They also have to participate actively by making choices based on their own judgment and interacting with the game as it is played out. If one choice fails, they have to try another one. This helps them retain the information they learn for longer.
- Achievement – Educators don’t have to worry about preparing a separate round of assessment to measure a student’s success. Online virtual games are designed with different levels that move from simple to complex. At each level the progress made by kids is captured and rewarded. The rewards give kids a sense of achievement and can be encouraging.
- Social – Virtual worlds are also popular because they offer a social environment and multi-player game options. This can lead to collaboration. Children also learn to communicate and share information online.
Yet another reason for you to explore online virtual games as an education tool is the learning styles they cater to like auditory, visual, or kinesthetic. By setting objectives and choosing the right games, virtual games can be used effectively in education.