Do you remember the last time you played a game with family or friends? If you do, you probably remember feeling excited and totally engaged hoping for the sweet taste of victory.
There’s just something about games that gets us humans all amped up and it’s just hardwired in our system to enjoy whatever kind of game it is. That’s why teachers resort to incorporating games into their lessons for online classes to increase not only engagement but also information retention as well.
But still, there is this question. Are games useful for online learning?
There has always been this speculation regarding whether or not games are useful not only in the context of online learning but also learning in all aspects.
Games have somehow gained a bad rep because most people consider it as the reason why students or people, in general, become lazy and care only for the games.
In all honesty, there are cases wherein people become like that but if we maintain integrity and play games within moderation then it is a huge change for students who deal with online classes.
Here are some of the benefits that students can gain from playing games.
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Are Games Useful for Online Learning? 4 Benefits As They Make Your Class More Exciting!
1.) Improves Mental Dexterity
Playing games will surely tickle your 6th sense especially if you are playing a game that is full of solving mind-boggling puzzles within a specific amount of time.
The desire to complete a game will allow you to push your limits and find ways in order to finish it, by doing this regularly you are enhancing your brain to react much faster and think of ways in order to solve problems.
Although it may not show much at first, you will slowly but surely improve and by the time you are facing a real-life problem you will not break under pressure and you will immediately look for a solution.
The improvement of your mental dexterity not only allows you to mentally react faster but also equips you with confidence that strengthens your sense of self-efficacy.
During online classes, it is hard to say if what we are doing is right because we do not experience the same proper guidance when classes are still regularly ongoing. That is why it is important that there should be established confidence within the students that allows them to react to situations faster with a belief of success.
2.) Technology and Language Fluency
As society embraces its many technological advances, games are a good medium for students to engage and learn how technology can be a great asset for human advancement.
The world is filled with technology-related jobs and it is a complicated matter especially if you are not familiar with the usage of technology—simple in-game instructions can help students familiarize themselves with the basics.
Moreover, it is a better way of learning and more efficient instead of teaching students who have no prior knowledge.
The same applies to learning a new language, particularly English. Many people have learned and become more fluent in speaking and writing in English thanks to games. I personally learned better when playing games because it introduced me to new words that are constantly being used in grammatically correct sentences.
The more you play games, the more you will notice the difference between sentences that are grammatically wrong and correct. Although I cannot say that it is an efficient way to learn a language, it is still a good benefit that you can use during online classes.
This is not limited to the English language only, but to all languages. There are games that introduce phrases in another language that can help students learn basic phrases that they can use.
3.) Makes them more tenacious
If you have experienced playing a game that is hard to beat but you still want to finish it at all costs then this benefit is pretty self-explanatory.
People are fired up whenever there is a challenge but most of the time they lose interest if they see that there is no progress in what they do, however in games you can still retry and do your best in order to get past a difficult obstacle—this can help students be more tenacious in doing their activities in online classes.
They will be more motivated and persist in doing good because having a little challenge will not easily falter them.
There has been much research and people who have personally experienced that they are more motivated to do work even though they are challenged, this is because of the influence of playing games that sets a mindset of “there is no such thing as failure”.
This positivity is a huge advantage for students especially during online classes, although it may not seem like it, but, online classes are mentally draining on a student’s part more so than regular classes. Having that kind of mindset will be a great help to strengthen their mental fortitude and exercise to be more productive.
4.) Serves as Mood Booster
Online classes have taken a toll on all of us, both students and teachers are not used to this kind of learning environment that is why there are times that students are unable to focus on the tasks given resulting in failed grades.
As much as students need to study, sitting in front of the computer all day without rest will surely make anyone unproductive.
There are limited things to do in order to take a break, especially during this pandemic, what better way to rest than playing some games?
Playing games is a good way to pass time and a good rejuvenation; it is fun and at the same time you can still exercise yourself mentally. There are games that are good for the brain, just like chess and puzzles.
All of these mentally-exercising games may seem simple but it does the job of rejuvenating yourself.
It is one of the ways for students to destress themselves and improve their heart rate for better participation in online classes. We should not force students to comply with their tasks immediately if we do not want a dispassionate result from them.
5.) Promotes communication in class
Incorporating games with online learning is a great way to foster communication between students. And we all know that it’s important for students to develop their social skills and games can get your students to ask and answer questions during class time—both from you and their peers.
This is also quite effective if your class has a forum or chat room where students can post and answer questions directly related to what is being currently discussed in your class at the moment. Some games have players working together, while others will require players to work individually or against each other (everybody loves a little competition!).
In either case, it’s still a win for teachers because it provides an opportunity for students to talk, interact, and exchange ideas in ways that they might not do otherwise in class. Games are also a great way to break the ice among students who are meeting each other for the first time.
6.) Students learn about responsibility
One of the most important lessons that can be taught through games is responsibility. And since most games are often designed to give players choices and challenges, students get to learn how to make decisions and choose what’s best for themselves in certain situations. If you ever played a game where your character dies if you don’t take care of it, then you would know what I’m talking about.
Games also encourage students to work as a team, in many cooperative games such as Minecraft, players must work together with other players on the same team in order to achieve their goals. With them working together towards a common goal, it gives them an opportunity to learn about the concept of how a group works together but also how they can individually contribute towards the success of their team.
All Things Considered…
It is because of the high popularity of games that most game developers have realized that in order to maximize the potential benefits of gaming, they should incorporate subjects such as math skills, reading skills, problem-solving skills, cooking skills and so much more to develop people’s cognitive learning.
Games are just activities and are part of the learning process, depending on how you would infuse games into your teaching strategy it will always provide benefits whatever style you choose to try out, whether if it’s gamification or game-based learning.
Now that you’ve discovered some of the benefits of using games for online learning, go ahead and try it out! It gives the teacher the opportunity to venture into different teaching styles while increasing engagement in the classroom and also encouraging independence and teamwork as students are empowered to make their own choices.
So if you’re up for it, press the start button to play!