Research shows that playing games is an excellent way of learning. You are more engaged, there is better reinforcement of the knowledge being imparted, and there is less pressure to learn. And, the best thing about a game as opposed to a test, for example, is that if you lose, you can always start again. Here are ten benefits of learning through games.
“Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning”Diane Ackeman
Playing games in the classroom increases overall motivation. Students become more directly responsible for their learning, pay more attention, and participate more actively. All of these things improve retention of the knowledge being imparted.
Playing educational games promotes healthy competition because it is controlled and involves an element of ‘the luck of the draw’. The student who has the most knowledge doesn’t necessarily win and those who lose can always try again.
Most educational games involve solving problems and strategizing the best way of doing so. By planning and strategizing students are exercising their working memory and increasing their mental cognition.
Using games in a learning environment makes the learning experience more fun. This creates a positive experience which, inevitably, results in a positive attitude and improved participation. Positive participation by learners improves the learning experience which, in turn, improves retention of knowledge.
The results of tests and worksheets do often not reflect the actual knowledge of the student. They can be daunting and put pressure on a person to a point where the results are not an indication of their actual learning. Games are a far less stressful way of a student demonstrating their knowledge, skills and understanding of a subject.
When a game is played multiple times students find their memory improving and their knowledge increasing. This is due to the need to constantly pay attention, use their working memory, and make decisions swiftly. A game that the student constructs themselves, like the Go Grow! printable version, enhances memory even more because students will have had passive exposure to the contents.
Classroom cooperation increases when games are used which makes classroom management so much easier. Instead of students working alone they work in a team. In order to be effective as a team they need to learn to cooperate which teaches respect and fairness, improves listening skills, and promotes team building.
When playing a game students need to be alert and pay attention in order to keep up with the gameplay. They also need to pay attention to detail which improves focus and can positively impact on the attention they pay to other tasks during the day.
Playing games is always fun, even when they’re educational. Endorphins are produced and students feel a sense of excitement and happiness in the classroom. This creates a positive learning environment which improves the retention of knowledge.
Games are an excellent tool for consolidating a learner’s knowledge about a subject. If a teacher is teaching new content and then the students play a game centred around that knowledge, what they have learned is consolidated and better understood and remembered.
So, as you can see, there are great advantages of using educational games to teach students more effectively. The Go Grow! educational gardening game is an excellent example. The game can be played in various ways and is packed with all the knowledge you need to get a vegetable garden growing. Teachers can use it as a game and as a structure for a series of lesson plans on growing food.