Games vs Simulations: Choosing the Right Approach for Learning

The word “game” is a big one… and it really refers to a category of activities that can look many ways. There is some natural confusion that arises around this topic, particularly on the difference between games, simulations, and gamification. I’ll focus on games and simulations in this post.

Here’s the definition I always give when asked to define what I mean by game:

An activity that has an explicit goal or challengerules that guide achievement of the goal, interactivity with either other players or the game environment (or both), and feedback mechanisms that give clear cues as to how well or poorly you are performing. It results in a quantifiable outcome (you win/you lose, you hit the target, etc). Usually, it generates an emotional reaction in players.

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