The inception of game-based learning and the widespread availability of technology has made digital games readily available for young school children. Now, students can play digital games from the comfort of their classroom before, after, or during lessons. But what do they stand to gain from this process? Although games differ based on their purposes, we will briefly examine the general benefits of digital games for learners.
Digital Games Improve Digital Literacy
These games help get students accustomed to the digital world innovatively and entertainingly. Digital games improve digital and computer literacy for learners by teaching them how to navigate the internet and use the mouse and keyboard properly. Students acquire basic computer skills — such as identifying icons, switching on/off the computer, interacting with others in a virtual space, etc. — while playing games. With little or no effort on the part of educators, players also learn self-reliance and how to use technology for their benefit. Consequently, students who enjoy playing games become unfazed by digital challenges, as they are more eager to learn about other aspects of technology.
They Improve Memory Capacity
Games improve alertness, focus, attentiveness, and gradually expand the memory span of learners. Gameplay revolves around memory, where students have to remember aspects to solve puzzles in a game, memorize critical sequences or visuals such as maps, and track narrative elements that guarantee advancements in the game. Many games also require problem-solving strategies that enhance the student’s working memory to solve problems and increase mental cognition.
Help Students Develop Social and Soft Skills
These games can propel improvement in the social and psychological wellbeing of learners, promoting effective communication, teamwork, and leadership. Players may often work together or compete against each other in a game, which defines their ability to develop healthy relationships, self-esteem, and engagement. According to HuffPost, 70% of gamers enjoy playing with their friends in the same room, and only 20% play alone. Students learn social interaction, empathy, and a better approach to failure: keep trying till you succeed. Physical skills, such as hand-eye coordination, are also developed along with spatial and fine motor skills. In some digital games where gamers have to take turns to play, students learn about patience and courtesy: how to wait for their turn and not interrupt their partner or opponent while playing.
Digital Games Boost Motivation
Hands-on practical opportunities that mirror real-life learning experiences often motivate children to do better. Playing games is a fun way to help students develop intrinsic motivation for learning. The interactive environment also promotes healthy competition, making students result-oriented. Students are motivated to take responsibility for their learning process, either as a lone player or team member. Accomplishing a task or advancing to a new level of gameplay also gives a sense of achievement, which brews motivation to take on other tasks.
Serves as a digital tool for assessment
Answering questions on a worksheet or producing assessment reports can be daunting and stressful for some students and educators. It can also create a negative perception of a students’ learning environment. As an alternative to worksheets, games can be used as a less stressful way for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of a topic and educators to assess students’ progress. As a fun activity, digital games will help students have a more positive perception of their learning environment and give a realistic indication of their learning.
Digital Games Improve Cognition
Digital games help learners develop cognitive, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Students who do well in digital games are epic problem solvers who approach challenges with confidence and stay resilient in the face of an obstacle. As they advance in the game, they begin to have informed opinions not heralded by prejudice. In other words, students develop the ability to think by themselves and outside of the box when completing levels and solving problems in games.
The benefits of digital games are evident in every aspect of education. It has become an integral learning tool for children of all ages. The earlier we begin to incorporate it into our lesson plans, the sooner we enjoy its benefits.