Why Should You Try Game-Based Learning?

We’ve talked about gamification before, and we know that a lot of you out there are already incorporating (or working to incorporate) game-based learning activities into your classrooms. For those of you still in the learning stages, or for some of the skeptics out there, we’ve come across this visual that takes a look at how game-based learning activities are designed, why they work, and how well they work in classrooms. Keep reading to learn more.

Why Is Game-Based Learning Great?

  • Games can make people behave better.
  • Learners perform better when using game-based learning.
  • Without games, the grade distribution is much more even across letter grades. With games, the distribution of grades is highly tilting towards the “A” range with almost no grades in the failing range.
  • Players work harder voluntarily with game-based learning.
  • The work tends to be more relevant and easier to recall in ‘real life’.
  • Timely and appropriate feedback is worked into the game design.
  • The challenges, structures, and goals are generally quite clear in game based learning.

game based learning guide


  1. chrismwparsons

    August 10, 2013 at 4:23 am

    Very interesting graphic – lots of motivations to use more and more games… however…. Does gamification prepare students for a world of work environments and expectations which aren’t gamified? In other words, whilst it may help them learn many things, does it do this by making them rely on “a spoon full of sugar” to help “the medicine go down”? Don’t they need to discover other deeper forms of task motivation? Wouldn’t it be better to try to help them find the personal intrinsic joy that can be found in any subject/topic/task if looked at from the right angle…? (harder to deliver for teachers, but arguably of more lasting service to the child)

    • Erlend Sogge Heggen

      September 6, 2013 at 10:18 am

      As always, it’s about finding the right balance. My favorite “serious game” as of late is called DragonBox, which teaches algebra to kids at a very young age. There was a great interview with the app’s creator on Forge, in which I think he does a great job of addressing your concerns:

      I’ve seen that DragonBox teaches my kids the mechanics of algebra processes. Do you have any sense of whether or not this translates to development of abstract and critical thinking skills?

      DragonBox does 50% of the job. We need to teach the rest. For example, we’d need to set up an equation from a given situation to complete abstract thinking skills. DragonBox is about the mechanics of algebra processes, and abstraction. It is 100% algebra math skills. But it doesn’t replace teachers. It requires help to transfer the knowledge to pencil and paper (we have a pdf for teachers and parents describing best practices for transitioning from tablet to paper). Honestly, I’ve yet to see a kid sit down with DragonBox and not learn some algebra.


      • Erlend Sogge Heggen

        September 6, 2013 at 10:19 am