What is Gamed-Based Learning?

Game-based learning has gained considerable traction since 2003, when James Gee began to describe the impact of game play on cognitive development. Since then, research, and interest in, the potential of gaming on learning has exploded, as has the diversity of games themselves, with the emergence of serious games as a genre, the proliferation of gaming platforms, and the evolution of games on mobile devices. Developers and researchers are working in every area of game-based learning, including games that are goal-oriented; social game environments; non-digital games that are easy to construct and play; games developed expressly for education; and commercial games that lend themselves to refining team and group skills. Role-playing, collaborative problem solving, and other forms of simulated experiences are recognized for having broad applicability across a wide range of disciplines.
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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the museums you know best?

  • I think it can be relevant to any museum type. Any museum has material that can be taught, and the key is finding out how to make a game out of it. There are ways some of the technologies can overlap, and that's great. For example, there are some examples of game-based learning that are location based, they can be require mobile devices (or not). If providing learning through games is a good way to reach young people (and I think it is) than why not? - sheila.carey sheila.carey Oct 13, 2012
  • This is definitely an area that has always been very attractive to museums with many museum-driven games delivered over PC.s We are now seeing the proliferation of serious gaming over social networks and of course serious gaming over immensely popular apps such as Logos quiz where you play against the smartphone to identify logos (very addictive may I say) and the real time app2app game such as Draw Something recently bought out by Zynga's for $200M - which then went on to loose money fast. But while it was at the top of its hype, users could play together with one person drawing and the other trying to identify the drawing. Soon after the launch the game had exceeded 50 million downloads and boasted more than 14 million daily users then came Zynga and the game died a sudden death. Still Draw Something might still morph into a TV show - so not all is lost. Would this work for a museum - why not? - shazan shazan Oct 14, 2012

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Museums often brand themselves as places of education (often phrased as placed of informal education) but perhaps by promoting the idea that museums can be fun too is a little alarming - still a very good idea. - shazan shazan Oct 14, 2012
  • I feel like the snake-oil side of "gamification" needs to be mentioned. There are so many people out there offering to "gamify" pretty much everything, that potential users of GBL need to be very clear-eyed about their goals and pedagogical approach. I think there is benefit and that game design has something to teach us about educating people. However, we're deep in the middle of the hype cycle, and I remain skeptical of how much GBL can really deliver on the promises its adherents make. - ed.rodley ed.rodley Oct 15, 2012

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • We all are dying to find the killer app but in our museums we want to do this because we are irrevocably dedicated to our collections and want to find great ways to share them with others. Adding some fun to our agenda could mean bringing more exposure beyond the museum walls - and by doing so would plant our collections directly on their flight path - who knows - they might actually learn something in the meanwhile. - shazan shazan Oct 14, 2012 - elka.weinstein elka.weinstein Oct 14, 2012
  • Another perspective here.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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