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Educational Games Don't Have to Stink! (26 Jan 2005)
My heretical view is simply this: computer games don't teach. I think the idea that you can teach using computer games is based on a flawed analogy between gameplay and learning. Here's how the analogy goes. Players of games have to overcome obstacles in order to achieve victory. They do this by learning the weaknesses, or limitations, of the opponents they face. Similarly, students learn knowledge in order to pass tests. So learning a fact is equivalent to defeating an enemy, and passing a test is equivalent to achieving victory. And a great many educational games are created this way.

This is a terrible way of learning! Why? Because in playing a game, the instant an enemy is dead, we forget him. We are only concerned with him for as long as it takes to beat him. This was, in effect, what happened to me with the computerized logic course. I passed each lesson, and remembered its message only insofar as it was necessary to pass another lesson. When they were all done, I forgot the lot.
Article URL: http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20050126/adams_01.shtml

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