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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Edugames Growing, Although Not in Hi-Ed

Since college students aged 18-24 have spent most of their young lives interacting with vivid video games and special screen effects, some educators are concerned they’ll be unwilling or unable to read through numerous pages of text for class assignments.

That raises the question of whether more course materials should be transformed into video games to hold students’ attention and allow them to engage more fully with the subject matter.

Educational gaming is already on the rise. The New Media Consortium Horizon Project 2013,Higher Education Edition, predicts game-based learning will be widely adopted within two to three years.

In a presentation at the Serious Play 2013 conference in August, data analysis firm Ambient Insight forecast a 10.1% jump in game-based learning for North America by 2017, with 15.3% growth in mobile edugames alone. But most of those games aren’t destined for college courses.

According to Ambient, only 8% of mobile learning apps are designed for higher education, compared to 40% for preschoolers to second grade. One of the biggest barriers to creating games appropriate for higher ed is the complexity of the material. Games helping preschoolers to count or recognize shapes are much easier to develop than games on quantum physics or 16th-century Asian history.

Rather than full-scale edugames, the answer may lie in gamification—adding elements of gaming to course materials to illustrate specific concepts, test skills and comprehension, or provide incentives to students.

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