Game-based learning: latest evidence and future directions

This new 48-page report from the National Foundation for Educational Research contains the following recommendations and ‘take-home’ points for teachers:

  • The evidence suggests that game-based learning can improve engagement and
    motivation, but don’t rely on games to improve attainment – there is still a lot we don’t
    know about the impact of video games on learning.
  • The best way of integrating gaming into teaching is by using it within a clear pedagogic
    process. In particular:
  • Place learning activities and academic content within the video game’s fictional and entertainment context, maintaining a balance between fun and learning.
  • Make the academic content integral to the game rather than an add-on. Content-specific tasks work better when embedded in the fictional context and rules (‘mechanics’) of the game.
  • Carefully plan the roles that you and your learners will take on in the game. Teachers should play roles that allow them to mediate the experience for learners: providing guidance when needed; ensuring that rules are followed; and maintaining a respectful
    atmosphere.
  • Don’t try to divorce decontextualized components of a game (such as badges, scores or leaderboards) from the fictional context and rules of the game (the ‘mechanics’)

It’s free to download from the NFER web site.