Games-Based Learning in the Classroom and How it can Work!

Games-Based Learning in the Classroom and How it can Work!

Helen Routledge (Independent Instructional Games Designer, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-360-9.ch016
OnDemand PDF Download:


Based on real-world experiences using a variety of digital games, this chapter presents a guide for teachers on how to use games-based learning in the classroom. Beginning with a theoretical overview of the change in learning styles and the growing digital divide, the impact that games have had on young people will be discussed. The limitations faced and ways to overcome these to create effective pedagogical experiences when using games will follow. The second half of this chapter aims to provide a practical guide for teachers wishing to integrate games into their classrooms, beginning with an overview of the changing role of the teacher, moving onto preparation guidelines, before finally discussing assessment and practical implementations.
Chapter Preview


Throughout the years there have been significant paradigm shifts in learning practices and recently there has been a move from behaviorist reinforcement to knowledge regarding how the ways in which we think and feel affect our ability to learn. Despite these changes much of mainstream education is still based on behaviorist principles and external rewards, rather than a concern with individual cognitions.

The current trend towards a more constructivist (Vygotsky, 1969) approach, whereby the individual is responsible for his or her own learning, accomplished through individual experience and coaching, combined with the increasing presence of technology in the modern day classroom is resulting in a rift in the level of knowledge and understanding of these technologies between student and teacher. Games are just one example of how this rift has manifested itself.

Games are intrinsically constructivist; the player or learner has to traverse a world where they are the centre of the learning experience, constantly constructing new knowledge and understanding, in order to progress. Refocusing towards this learner centric experience reduces the need for the traditional pedagogical methodology of the ‘Sage on the Stage’ and ‘Tell and Test’, such as King (1993 pp 30) who describes the teacher as the focus of the classroom, ‘the individual who has the knowledge and transmits that knowledge to the students, who simply memorize the information and later reproduce it on an exam-often without even thinking about it’.

The move towards constructivism and learner centered technology, has resulted in the challenge of bridging this rift and ensuring those who deliver education are comfortable with this approach – and the crux of the matter, they are unlikely to be avid gamers. To many this may sound like ‘Mission Impossible’ but that is far from the truth. What teachers need is advice on how to navigate through this maze to emerge on the other side with an understanding of how games can be used effectively in education.

In recent years there has been a phenomenal increase in interest in games in the classroom. Several papers funded by Government Bodies have been published, mainly concerned with Commercial off the Shelf games (COTS) such as the report by McFarlane and Kirriemuir (2003) on the ‘Use of Computer and Video Games in the Classroom’, together with the Federation of American Scientist report ‘Harnessing the power of video games for learning’ (2005). Both reports concluded that the use of games as teaching tools can have positive results for teachers and students.

Despite this research and the growing body of evidence pointing towards the positive impact of games, there is a still a belief that games have a negative influence on young people. A recent report by the British Board of Film Classification (2007) claimed that they are violent, time consuming, take hours and hours to complete and that they reduce players’ social interaction skills.

However people have learnt from games for thousands of years and from my experience working with schools, students and teachers over the past 5 years with several games-based learning tools, this chapter presents the lessons learned from integrating games into the classroom and school environment, aiming to move towards best practice for current and future design and implementation.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Table of Contents
Kurt Squire
Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Liz Boyle
Chapter 1
Stephen Tang, Martin Hanneghan, Abdennour El Rhalibi
Games-based learning takes advantage of gaming technologies to create a fun, motivating, and interactive virtual learning environment that promotes... Sample PDF
Introduction to Games-Based Learning
Chapter 2
Nicola Whitton
This chapter examines the rationale for the use of computer games in learning, teaching, and assessment in Higher Education. It considers their... Sample PDF
Learning and Teaching with Computer Games in Higher Education
Chapter 3
Daniel Livingstone, Jeremy Kemp, Edmund Edgar, Chris Surridge, Peter Bloomfield
Alongside the growth of interest in Games-Based Learning, there has been a notable explosion of interest in the use of 3D graphical multi-user... Sample PDF
Multi-User Virtual Environments for Learning Meet Learning Management
Chapter 4
Jean-Charles Marty, Thibault Carron, Jean-Mathias Heraud
In this chapter, the authors propose a Game-Based LMS called the pedagogical dungeon equipped with cooperation abilities for particular activities.... Sample PDF
Observation as a Requisite for Game-Based Learning Environments
Chapter 5
Marco A. Gómez-Martín, Pedro P. Gómez-Martín, Pedro A. González-Calero
A key challenge to move forward the state of the art in games-based learning systems is to facilitate instructional content creation by the domain... Sample PDF
Content Integration in Games-Based Learning Systems
Chapter 6
Matt Seeney, Helen Routledge
One of the most important differentiators between Commercial Games and Serious Games is content; delivered in a way that is successfully integrated... Sample PDF
Drawing Circles in the Sand: Integrating Content into Serious Games
Chapter 7
Mark McMahon
This chapter proposes a document-oriented instructional design model to inform the development of serious games. The model has key features in that... Sample PDF
The DODDEL Model: A Flexible Document-Oriented Model for the Design of Serious Games
Chapter 8
Daniel Burgos, Christof van Nimwegen
Serious games are suitable for learning. They are a good environment for improving the learning experience. As a key part of this setting, feedback... Sample PDF
Games-Based Learning, Destination Feedback and Adaptation: A Case Study of an Educational Planning Simulation
Chapter 9
Patrick Felicia, Ian Pitt
For a long time, users’ emotions and behaviours have been considered to obstruct rather than to help the cognitive process. Educational systems have... Sample PDF
Profiling Users in Educational Games
Chapter 10
Marco Greco
The use of Role-Playing is becoming prominent in Serious Games due to its positive effects on learning. In this chapter the author will provide a... Sample PDF
The Use of Role–Playing in Learning
Chapter 11
Sanna-Mari Tikka, Marja Kankaanranta, Tuula Nousiainen, Mari Hankala
In the context of computer games, learning is an inherent feature of computer game playing. Computer games can be seen as multimodal texts that... Sample PDF
Telling Stories with Digital Board Games: Narrative Game Worlds in Literacies Learning
Chapter 12
Colin Price
The power of computer game technology is currently being harnessed to produce “serious games”. These “games” are targeted at the education and... Sample PDF
The Path between Pedagogy and Technology: Establishing a Theoretical Basis for the Development of Educational Game Environments
Chapter 13
Sara de Freitas, Steve Jarvis
This chapter reviews some of the key research supporting the use of serious games for training in work contexts. The review indicates why serious... Sample PDF
Towards a Development Approach to Serious Games
Chapter 14
Pieter Wouters, Erik D. van der Spek, Herre van Oostendorp
Despite scant empirical substantiation, serious games are in widespread use. The authors review 28 studies with empirical data from a learning... Sample PDF
Current Practices in Serious Game Research: A Review from a Learning Outcomes Perspective
Chapter 15
Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Thomas Hainey
The field of games-based learning (GBL) has a dearth of empirical evidence supporting the validity of the approach (Connolly, Stansfield, & Hainey... Sample PDF
Towards the Development of a Games-Based Learning Evaluation Framework
Chapter 16
Helen Routledge
Based on real-world experiences using a variety of digital games, this chapter presents a guide for teachers on how to use games-based learning in... Sample PDF
Games-Based Learning in the Classroom and How it can Work!
Chapter 17
Elizabeth A. Boyle, Thomas Connolly
Developing educational computer games that will appeal to both males and females adds an additional level of complexity to an already complicated... Sample PDF
Games for Learning: Does Gender Make a Difference?
Chapter 18
Maria Saridaki, Dimitris Gouscos, Michael G. Meimaris
Students with Intellectual Disability (ID) are often described as “slow learners” and cannot easily integrate to the normal curriculum. Still, the... Sample PDF
Digital Games-Based Learning for Students with Intellectual Disability
About the Contributors