Why Games based learning is important

Why Games based learning is important

Game-based learning (GBL) has emerged as a transformative approach, turning education into an engaging and immersive experience. Game-based learning is gaining popularity as a teaching strategy, especially with students becoming tech-savvy early on and educational tech companies creating more products.  

Research from 2018 shows that educational games support better math learning outcomes. Another review highlighted their success in improving students' understanding of course content. As research on game-based learning continues, it's clear that this approach is effective in helping students achieve their learning objectives. 

In this blog, we'll explore the dynamics of game-based learning, its variations, benefits, drawbacks, and the exciting impact it has on the learning landscape. 

 What is Game-Based Learning? 

Game-based learning is an educational strategy that integrates game elements to promote active participation and enhance the learning process. By incorporating elements such as competition, rewards, and interactive challenges, GBL captivates learners and fosters a dynamic learning environment. 

Game-based learning offers universal benefits accessible to learners at every stage, from preschool to post-secondary education and beyond. The beauty of it lies in its versatility, allowing students to engage in learning: 

  • Through online games 
  • In person using tangible objects 
  • Independently or collaboratively within a team 
Game-Based Learning

The Dynamics of Game-Based Learning vs. Gamification 

While both game-based learning and gamification aim to enhance engagement and learning outcomes, the key distinction lies in the direct use of games for learning versus the incorporation of game elements in non-game scenarios. Game-based learning immerses learners in educational games, whereas gamification applies game-like features to enhance motivation and participation across different settings. The table below provides a comparison to make a distinction between the two concepts: 


Game-Based Learning 



Incorporating actual games into the learning process. 

Integrating game-like elements into non-game contexts for educational purposes. 

Primary Focus 

Use of games as educational tools. 

Application of game design features for engagement and motivation in non-game settings. 

Learning Activities 

Learning occurs directly through playing games. 

Learning activities may or may not involve games; gamification focuses on game elements in tasks. 

Engagement Strategy 

Direct immersion in game scenarios. 

Indirect engagement through game-like features (badges, points, leaderboards). 

Application Setting 

Involves the use of actual games in a learning environment. 

Applicable to non-game settings, such as classrooms, workplaces, or daily routines. 

Rewards and Recognition 

Inherent in the game structure; completing levels, achieving goals. 

External rewards like badges, points, or leaderboards are used to motivate and recognize achievements. 


May require specific game structures. 

Adaptable to various contexts and activities, often applied creatively. 



Consider this scenario to better understand the distinctions between GBL and gamified learning: 

Scenario: Teaching Mathematics to 2nd Grade Students. 

  • Game-Based Learning (GBL): Utilizing a game like Grade 1&2 Addition and Subtraction, players engage with 40 subtraction cards and 40 addition cards. Using dice to determine turns, they solve questions on the cards. Correct answers allow them to pop a corresponding number of bubbles on their fidget mats. 
  • Gamified Learning: Students earn points or badges by completing problems or worksheets designed for 2nd graders. A leaderboard tracks progress, fostering a sense of competition among students. 

Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL) 

The digital realm has significantly amplified game-based learning. Digital platforms offer interactive simulations, virtual scenarios, and immersive experiences, providing learners with a diverse range of educational opportunities. DGBL allows for real-time feedback, adaptability, and personalized learning experiences. 

Digital Game-Based Learning

 Traditional Game-Based Learning 

Traditional game-based learning involves the use of physical games, board games, or card games as educational tools. These games are designed to reinforce specific skills, promote critical thinking, and encourage social interaction among learners. 

Top Benefits of Game-Based Learning 

  1. Enhanced Engagement: Games create an environment where learners are actively involved, fostering higher engagement levels. 
  1. Skill DevelopmentGBL promotes the development of various skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making. 
  1. Adaptability: Games can be tailored to different learning styles and paces, catering to individual needs. 
  1. Motivation: The inherent fun and challenge in games act as powerful motivators, driving students to excel.

Potential Drawbacks of Game-Based Learning 

  1. Overemphasis on Entertainment: Critics argue that GBL may prioritize entertainment over educational objectives.
  2. Technical Barriers: Digital games might pose challenges for those without access to necessary technology.
  3. Limited Application: Some subjects or skills may not lend themselves well to a game-based approach.

7 Types of Game-Based Learning 

  1. Simulations: Immersive replicas of real-world scenarios. 
  2. Educational Apps: Interactive applications designed for educational purposes. 
  3. Story-Based Games: Narratives that unfold based on player decisions. 
  4. Quizzes and Trivia Games: Fun ways to reinforce knowledge and test understanding. 
  5. Escape Room Games: Problem-solving challenges in a confined, timed space. 
  6. Role-Playing Games (RPGs): Learners assume characters and navigate a fictional world. 
  7. Board Games: Traditional games adapted for educational purposes.

      How is The Fidget Game a champion of game-based learning? 

      The Fidget Game collection transforms learning into a playful adventure. By incorporating fidget elements like popping mats and dice, it keeps kids engaged and excited. Homeschool parents and teachers can leverage this to make learning a fun, multisensory experience. Mastering sight words, math concepts, and even telling time becomes an interactive game, boosting confidence and knowledge retention. This engaging approach caters to different learning styles, making The Fidget Game a top contender for game-based learning at home or in the classroom.

      How To succeed at Game-Based Learning  

      • Align game type with learning outcome : To succeed with Game-Based Learning (GBL), it's crucial to align various game types with specific learning outcomes. Tailor the choice of games, whether board, adventure, or puzzle games, based on the intended learning scenario.  
      • Turn learning into a clue : Turning learning into a key component of the gaming experience ensures that users apply acquired knowledge, making it a repetitive behavior transferable to real-life situations.  
      • Apply proven effective instructional strategies : Effective instructional strategies, such as using graphics, interactive scenarios, and meaningful feedback, contribute to a well-designed game. 
      • Provide Guidance to gamer : Providing guidance to learners on achieving goals within the game is essential for user engagement. The immersive nature of the game, supported by a coherent storyline and relatable scenarios, enhances the learning experience. 
      • Game must be challenging : Challenging gameplay is vital, ensuring that it progressively increases in difficulty to maintain learner engagement. Striking the right balance between easy and extremely difficult levels keeps users motivated. 


      Game-based learning is more than a trend; it's a paradigm shift in education. By embracing the power of games, educators can create dynamic, engaging, and effective learning environments, preparing students for success in the ever-evolving landscape of knowledge and skills. 










      Colvin Clark, R., Mayer, R. E. E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. 3rd edition. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons/Pfeiffer, 2011. Print. ISBN-10: 0470874309 - ISBN-13: 978-0470874301 

      Derryberry, A. “Serious Games: online games for learning”. Adobe. November 2007. 26th of November 2012. Web site: http://www.adobe.com/products/director/pdfs/serious_games_wp_1107.pdf 

      New Media Consortium (NMC), Marcus Institute for Digital Education in the Arts (MIDEA). “NMC Horizon Report > 2012 Museum Edition”. New Media Consortium and Marcus Institute for Digital Education in the Arts. 2012. 26th of November 2012. Web site: http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2012-horizon-report-HE.pdf 

      Connolly, T. Stansfield, M. “Using Games-Based eLearning Technologies in Overcoming Difficulties in Teaching Information Systems”. University of Paisley. Volume 5, 2006. Web site: http://www.jite.org/documents/Vol5/v5p459-476Connolly170.pdf 


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