The growing popularity of game-based learning has piqued the interest of many educators in higher ed. While the achievement of learning outcomes is always the final goal of a learning experience, the goal for designing a classroom game must hold engagement as top priority. In the absence of purposeful design, many classroom games are just poorly disguised quizzes, and students are rarely fooled into enjoying them.
Experiential games put the student in the center of the lesson. How would they react if they were in the situation put forth by the game? What would they do to resolve an issue or remove an obstacle to move ahead in the game? Such games can be used to develop empathy, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Role playing games are a great example of experiential learning, because they put the learners into action as they consider the outcomes of different behaviors within a given situation. If you are pressed for time, simple games can also engage students without requiring significant prep time for the instructor. For example, scenario-based question games that ask students “What would you do?” can prompt them to think through issues in ways that might not be generated by passively reading a text. Jeopardy is another type of game that works well, particularly because of its familiarity, quick pace, and interactive format. You can also shake up a classroom by having your students act out a concept or vocabulary word in a game of charades. These are just a few examples of classroom games that increase motivation, encourage participation, and improve content retention.
If students have fun interacting with the game, there is a much higher chance that they will learn the content presented within. Contact Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) at TLT if you are interested in learning more about how you can use games to empower your students and enhance their learning experience.