Background and Links


Recommendations for eLearning Strategy

Background and Links

Computer game technology focuses on user engagement and in many cases does it exceptionally well.

Good games also involve multiple literacies, strategic thinking, risk taking and collaboration. Game designers use learning theories and approaches such as experiential learning, inquiry-based learning, authentic learning, self-efficacy, goal-setting, continual feedback and cooperative learning. This makes some games worth considering for education and training.

Computer games also allow users to
  • learn at their own pace
  • test different responses to explore their effect
  • engage in roles involving dangerous tasks
  • master content
  • learn to work in a team and take a leadership role
  • learn to analyse large amounts of complex data
  • participate in tasks involving 'massively open cooperation' eg 1,000 people


Not only are computer games useful in e-learning and online training but game theory and practice is worth applying to e-learning design. A number of game or play elements are being incorporated into online services in a process called 'gamification'. These game elements include
  • setting a goal (personal or group or 'massive' community)
  • following rules (particularly those designed to challenge users to explore something new)
  • feedback systems (often involving points and levels, badges and rewards)
  • voluntary participation (to enter the game and during the game to ensure safety and comfort during difficult challenges)

Frequent flyer and shopper points are examples of gamification.

Games for Problem Solving

Over the last decade a more concerted attempt has been made to deliberately design games for learning and this genre is now better understood - although it's still developing as new technologies present new possibilities. See the links below.

Jane McGonigal argues that experienced game players have developed a range of skills that makes them very useful - even crucial - to solving some of today's complex global challenges.

Games as Learning Environments

Some immersive 3D games can be repurposed as engaging learning environments.Games are often packaged with game and world editors that users can use to make their own game for entertainment or learning. This process is called 'modding' and many game players are highly skilled at it. Game-based learning environments can be used for training, role-playing, walk-throughs, story-telling, video production and more.

Polytechnic Creative Arts and ICT students (and many school students) have been involved in customising game worlds for several years. The following video is an example of a game editor used to create a walk-through of a building on the Launceston Campus .

Are there ways to recognise the skills that some experienced game players bring to the workplace and their community - local and global?
In what ways could gamifcation be applied to e-learning in the Polytechnic?
Which existing commercial and free games could be useful learning resources for workforce sector courses?
What game worlds would make useful learning environments?


Games for Change

Digital and non-digital games that engage contemporary social issues in a meaningful way. These games have been created by cross-disciplinary teams from around the world.
Gaming Can Make a Better World, Jane McGonigal, TED Talk

Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems? Jane McGonigal says we can, and explains how.

Reality is Broken, Jane McGonigal
URGENT EVOKE: A Crash Course in Changing the World

EVOKE was developed by the World Bank Institute, the learning and knowledge arm of the World Bank Group, and directed by alternate reality game master Jane McGonigal.
World of Warcraft Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)

Game skills
  • Leadership
  • Picking a team
  • Setting goals and targets
  • Conflict resolution
  • Multi-tasking
  • Systems thinking
  • Determination
  • Team player

Video (8 mins) - Why Videogames are Such a Force in Learning, Civics, and Social Innovation

TED Video (12 mins) - Gaming to re-engage boys in learning

Article - Ten Surprising Truths about Video Games and Learning
Why Games Work (2011)


Recommendations for eLearning Strategy