Game Design Theory: Why it works!


Game Design Essentials 101

Why Games Accelerate Learning

All Game allow players and participants to learn faster and more efficiently about any actual specific content, curriculum, task mastery, soft skills, processes and learning based outcomes. The reason is simple: whenever any player or team learns by playing a game, learning is accelerated because the information is absorbed more quickly and much more easily retained due to the intense emotions and fun associated with the positive learning process. The power of games to increase retention and create more powerful embedding of learned information is due to a technique know as Neuro-Associative Conditioning.     

Games can make even the most boring, dry or repetitive materials and standard operating procedures seem interesting and exciting as a game makes the knowledge and information come alive by making the lessons interactive and experiential. Any time a learner can attach positive emotions of fun and excitement to any subject or curriculum, the learning process is almost automatically accelerated. 

Experiential Learning

The real power of learning comes through the proper use of Experiential Learning. Experiential learning simply means giving the experience first and then discussing the theory that is generated by observations and generalizations about the experience.

Most learning is deductive in nature. Deductive learning means that it is sequential and linear in nature. First the theory is presented, then a discussion about the application of the theory. Finally and or rare occasions or in a totally different advanced class, there is some form of experience that validates all of the learning theories and discussions.

Experiential Learning is Inductive in nature.  Inductive learning starts with the end in mind and works backwards. This means that the instructor must present with the end in mind. The end product or service would normally be shown or demonstrated upfront. Giving the overview and purpose and objective first in some form of experiential format would be ideal. Experiential learning always attempts to demonstrate and gives actual experiences of either the actual product or service or task or process. If the actual product or service cannot be rendered due to the size, scope or complexity of the presentation, some form of abbreviated simulation that creates the same basic key learning outcomes is presented in its place. .  

Example: To demonstrate the power and influence of communication and leadership on the overarching organizational strategic plan, a board game that brings out a few of the main learning and narrow yet focused learning results may be used. By accomplishing several of the key features of the overall learning objective (even though perhaps not all of them), the instructor peaks interest in the remaining lesson and can talk in real terms about what just happened experientially.