Tips for designing serious games in learning

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There is a reason why people give up on learning more quickly than they would on a good game. This is because, simply put, games are fun. This is why games are used as an important study aid in learning. Otherwise known as Gamification, it is the use of gameplay mechanics for non-game applications. Game mechanics here, are the construct of rules that encourage users to explore and learn the properties of their possibility space through the use of feedback mechanisms. As a designer who designs games for the purpose of education, it is important to use what is used to build engagement in games can also be applied to other interactive material such as eLearning.

Tips for designing serious games in learning

Here are some important things to keep in mind when developing games for learning:

Engagement is the first goal

As mentioned earlier, the important reason to include games as a part of a learning module is because it is easier to keep the learner’s mind engaged through a game than through a lecture. But the game has to be interesting enough with the right difficulty level so that it does not bore them or frustrate them too easily.Learners should get so engrossed in the game that they do not want to stop until the game is over.

Set the goals and objectives

Once again, the point of games here is to educate. So it is important that the learner understands the objectives of the game in order to make the most of it. The player must be presented with or should discover the goal he or she is trying to achieve within the theme.This allows players in games to learn and practice skills, prior to having to demonstrate mastery of those skills in the most challenging parts of the game.Setting clear goals and objectives helps the learner in relating to the game and playing the game for the right reasons.

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The game so designed for the purpose of learning must be relevant to the subject and to the interests of the learner. That is, the dilemmas that a player faces and the consequent decisions that he makes must be meaningful for the learner in context to what his typical work role is.

Make the game directly beneficial

Immediate and sure return on investment is a great motivator. If the game is directly beneficial, that is, if the learner can gain exactly what he is looking for immediately through the game, it increases the chances of him playing the game specially for achieving the objectives and goals set by the game. Even if he is not good at it, knowing that it will definitely help him will motivate him to become better at it.

Frequent if not immediate feedback

Providing the player with immediate feedback will help him play better, thereby acquiring the skills intended to be imparted more effectively and efficiently. As a designer, your job is to make your users feel smart or clever. Especially if what you’re designing is a learning exercise. If a learner feels lost or confused, you’re essentially telling them that they’re stupid, and you’re not doing your job as a designer. The feedback can also be in the form of rewards thereby encouraging the player to play longer and better. Learners get excited when they earn victory or points. Sometimes, even simple or analytical feedback motivates them to play the game once again.

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