Alternate Reality Learning: Massive Gaming, Virtual Reality, and Simulations

13 11 2010

There is a need for game based learning environments because games have potential for learning. Games create places for students to learn, to have fun, to compete with other students and to reach personal goals. These are the motivating factors.  In a learning proposed game, students understand the game features and context first. Then, they use the game as their creative face, and create their own environment while interacting within the community. Also, games function as spaces for players to adapt and develop new identities.  For example, my cousin plays World of Warcraft, and he says that when you he has a powerful avatar in the game, he feel he has a better position between his friends in real life, which means he creates a more powerful identity.  Another good part of learning with game is failing part. If a student loses money in a game, s/he can try again. This is maybe the most beneficial part of learning with games because real life does not give us that much chance to fail. Making more and more practice, playing again and again, and students can become better players and learners.

When students start playing a game, they see the game as a rule system first. Kill the monsters, get money, and buy new weapons. However, when they provide and get feedback from others inside the game community, the social interaction create a new meaning for them. Changing the idea of rule system to an interactive community, games become a supportive and enjoyable mechanism for disengaged students.

As a summary, to develop game based learning spaces, educators should develop virtual worlds worth understanding. Learning spaces should provide interactivity, support new types of experiences through the learning space, and encourage participation.

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