TRENDS AND ISSUES
IN INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN
Gaming and learning
ITED 501—Instructional Technology Foundations
Texas A&M Texarkana
includes educational video games,
simulations, and virtual worlds
presents real world problems
is NOT simply drills or questions to answer
keeps with theories of Constructivism
creates intensive learning opportunities
bases learning on sound pedagogy
Games help students learn to…
• link abstractions with concrete learning
• make mental models
• work together
• make decisions and accept consequences
• study smarter
• solve problems
• think critically
• recognize patterns and visual cues
Virtual Worlds and Simulations:
Expansive interactive environments and
complex resources allow learners to make
and test hypotheses.
Simplified microcosm teaches learners about
more complex real world.
Learners can experience working as an expert
in the field.
Learners can experiment, especially with
what would be prohibitively expensive or
dangerous in real life.
Not widely used in k-12 education yet.
Digital natives like video games.
Learning occurs in places where learners feel safe
and able to take risks.
Serious games are engaging and interesting.
Learners earn rewards for learning.
Problems are hard enough to challenge, but easy
enough to conquer.
Players begin to feel ownership of their learning
through the game.
Video games teach complex skills through
Students can collaborate to solve challenges.
Serious games can inspire learners when
traditional classroom instruction fails.
Games can be adapted to appropriate skill and
mastery levels; most games adapt themselves
according to player inputs.
Games reward players for what they do right,
recognizing players’ strengths.
Games use multiple senses, learning methods.
Games are nonlinear so students can move from
one skill area to another, avoiding frustration.
Risks and rewards
Video game players expect to fail before they
can succeed in mastering a task.
Serious games provide positive experiences
in failure, in contrast to negative feelings that
come with failure in traditional face-to-face
Because failure is acceptable in serious
gaming, serious gaming creates a risk-free
environment for students, and creates a
stronger learning experience.
Reflection and Feedback
Video games provide learners with instant
feedback about their decisions and actions.
Serious games allow learners time to stop
and think about problems.
Serious games that build in reflection after
the task are actually more effective than
Serious games encourage learners to think
about what they think they know.
Military simulations: real expertise and
fewer mistakes in reality
K-12 education: better standardized scores
Higher retention of active learning
Health care simulations: quality
Business: high-level training that can be
accessed anywhere, anytime
Suggestions for k-12
Teachers should use serious gaming to tap into
digital learners’ natural interests, not dwell on
19th century learning methodology.
Serious gaming is worth the time investment,
and is not counter-productive to assessment
Continued use of serious gaming across curricula
helps standardize terminology and educational
experience and measuring students’ growth.
Curriculum modules should be created for use
with popular consumer games.
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