Pros and Cons of Game-Based Learning

For a significant part of them, pros take over the cons. Among the former they name:

1. Multitasking. Modern reality requires that a person multitasks almost constantly, and what can develop this skill better than a game, without endangering the player himself or the people around? Due to multiple functions one has to perform to succeed in the game, he gradually improves his reaction and the ability to concentrate on several things simultaneously.

2. Individual approach. Although many learning techniques boast of being highly personalized, GBL takes over almost all of them. As the player is working on an individual basis, he can master the curriculum at his own pace. This is probably the greatest advantage to mention, as different capabilities of students in the class always cause difficulties for their teachers.

3. Learning how to be a part of the team. Having a rather high degree of individualization, GBL is a tool to teach teamwork at the same time, which is no doubt a highly appreciated skill in modern business world.

4. A chance to make learning less stressful. Let’s face it – playing games is more enjoyable than solving equations. By excluding the stressful component from the studying process, we can achieve amazing results.

Those opposed to GBL name various ‘against’ factors, which can be generally summarized as difficulty of implementation. The first and foremost reason to balk is the related costs. GBL implementation requires new software development, provision of equipment, training of teachers and so on. Moreover, it has to be incorporated into existing curricula, which is a lengthy and tiresome process.

My collegues from company bring their other counterarguments which  include not being able to transfer acquired skills into real life and lack of social adaptation, which are easily refuted. Educational games are built with the purpose to develop real-life skills, and there are no objective difficulties in applying them outside of the virtual ‘classroom’. As for social adjustment, learners still do interact in the gaming process. A slightly different method of socialization, but still a rather efficient one.

To sum up, GBL is a worthy invention which might open a new era in teaching and learning techniques. Once we figure out how to tackle the related difficulties and embrace the concept as the one worth implementing, obtaining excellent results through it will be only a matter of time. As of now, it is up to every teacher whether to try and use GBL in his work – and many of them opt for.

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