Game-Based Learning: How to Give Your Learners a Safe Place to Fail

Ethan Edwards of Allen Interactions likes to make the point that we can’t make people learn. You can’t learn someone to do something. You have to create the conditions where they want to bring the information to themselves. And games are a great place to create a sense of engagement.

Games create a new world, one with rules that put constraints on actions. In terms of training, this creates a safe place to fail. It’s safer to get an ethics policy wrong, or fail to correctly describe new software, or to say the wrong thing to customer, in a game than it is in real life.

Games often have a reputation of being complicated and time consuming to develop. And they can be. At the same time, it matters where that effort is being placed.

Not all games need highly developed graphics. The graphics-lacking iOS game A Dark Room was the most-downloaded app of April 2013. Simple graphics that sketch an idea of a world can be enough set the stage for a game design.

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