Read – The Challenges of Game-Based Learning
While more and more institutions, instructors and students are beginning to see the validity of Game Based Learning there remains many challenges to overcome before this type of learning can become widespread.
In order to make Game Based Learning educational and useful in the classroom, the game must meet certain learning outcomes. Adapting the games to these multiple outcomes requires various difficulty levels, numerous “quests or challenges” and an array of steps or levels to “win” the game.
2) Creating a gaming atmosphere that is adapted to all the learners’ ability:
Undoubtedly in today’s classrooms most students will be digital natives born in the era of Internet, cell phones and easily accessible computers. But this still does not apply to all learners nor does it reflect the individual ability and gaming knowledge of each learner. Adapting a game to respond to these differences is difficult.
3) Overcoming the cultural barrier with faculty and parents:
Marketing the idea of Game Based Learning to faculty and especially to parents is not an easy sell. GBL is still stereotyped as gaming or as some parents view it “wasting ones time”. The stigma associated with games and play is difficult to overcome in an educational setting where accountability and results are necessary and required.
4) The cost associated with developing a learning game:
Games require time, knowledge, and money to take shape. Some colleges and universities will not have the resources or time available to them to make educational games. The cost of funding a game coupled with the hardware and software needed to create it, can become too costly for institutions to manage.
5) Game development requires knowledge and certain proficiencies:
Creating a game and playing one are two vastly different tasks. The knowledge and abilities needed to create a game that will meet the needs of various learners, engage the students, respond to curriculum, be ready quickly and be cost effective are vast and difficult to come by (Epper, 2012).
Developing the game itself comes with its’ own set of challenges but there are also other implementation issues that Game Based Learning faces:
- Are computer laboratories available where students can play games?
- Are they appropriately configured?
- Are they available for the extended hours that game play involves?
- Is the right equipment available, such as headphones, speakers, and special consoles?
- Is support available for the game, both technically and in terms of game play?
- Is gaming integrated into the curriculum or just added on? (Oblinger, 2006)
Lastly the challenges for Game Based Learning are not solely in financial, infrastructure or design capabilities but there are also the technical challenge that are faced by the teachers and instructors implementing and monitoring the gaming : The faculty working with the game will need time to develop, implement, evaluate, guide and analyze what and how the students are learning (Van Eck, 2006). This type of evaluation will require the faculty to be trained to understand how the game works, its’ alignment with curricula and how the game can help them in their teachers. Getting everyone “on board” is key to engaging the students and making the game successful.
Epper, R. M. (2012, August 12). Game-Bed Learning: Developing and Institutional Strategy. Educause, pp. 1-3.
Oblinger, D. G. (2006, January 1). Games and Learning: Digital games have the potential to bring play back to the learning experience. Educause Quartely, pp. 1-3.
Van Eck, R. (2006, March/April 1). Digital Game-Based Learning: It’s not just the digital natives that are restless. EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 16-30.
Watch – The Challenge of Implementing Games in the Classroom
Comment – Answer the Questions
Please comment below on the following questions:
- If you have tried a Game Based Learning tool before, what are some challenges you have encountered?
- In the future, do you see institutions overcoming these challenges and incorporating more Game Based Learning in their classes?
- As an educator, would you feel comfortable using Game Based Learning as a tool in your classroom? What would you consider might be the #1 challenge with this?