Patience, curiosity, unending energy. Everything I envy from the relationship between my students and their videogames.
How do they do it? How can I do it? I can see at least 3 clear differences between the traditional education tools and the land of coins and cherries.
Videogames greet us with level zero. It’s expected to be a mess. You are expected to be clumsy. As a matter of fact, if you clear the level too easily it will surely result in disengagement.
You learn through interaction. Start doing before understanding what is going on, or even knowing the mechanics and rules. You discover them. By advancing and trying and making sense of your personal experience.
With each level you advance, the mechanics will get more complex, the actions more precise, the storyline thickens. This creates built meaning. By discovering the universe, the player becomes part of the narrative, holding an emotional connection and debt to the game.
You are able to “learn on the go” thanks to a robust, clear and immediate feedback user interface. It’s not only about scores. The real magic resides in being able to identify which categories to keep track of. With which objective? To sort things out? To score on the top of the social chart? To keep from dying?
Clear objective, specific categories, quantifiable components. Every test and every task should be ruled by this principle. It may be harder to design, but it will be so much more beneficial to your students!
Learning is always a social experience. As a teacher it is said that you never really learn until you teach. I’ve seen online students looking for peers within their virtual community to hold each other accountable for their learning objectives. Videogames invite players to interact through a shared, lighthearted light where everyone is, and isn’t, themselves.
It all comes down to the design experience. Videogames teach us to give our students something to yearn for. That desire will surely ignite their interest, curiosity and ultimately their passion towards our topic.
We have to stop preaching and start designing education towards provocations. Explorations rather than explanations.