North American Simulation and Gaming Association

Why Use Games to Teach?

Twelve Reasons Games are Great for Teaching

  1. Games are fun.  They enhance interest and spark motivation in learners.
  2. Games are disarming.  People are drawn into the play and begin learning before they have time to let their inhibitions about learning kick in.
  3. Games build teams.  In the activity of play, people create bonds that extend to the workplace.
  4. Games provide practice and feedback.  People can rehearse procedures and see the immediate results without serious consequences.
  5. Games let people try out different roles.  People can experiment with different leadership styles before using them in the workplace.
  6. Games are memorable; they enhance retention.  Games provide a context for what is being taught that is easy to recall.
  7. Games have an emotional impact.  When emotions are involved, learning is deeper and has a longer lasting impression. 
  8. Games fulfill multiple needs.  They can be used to assess what people need to learn, to solve problems, to generate ideas, and to evaluate what people have learned.
  9. Games make abstract concepts more concrete.  They provide an in-the-moment application of the ideas being taught.
  10. Games teach decision-making skills.  Both individuals and teams learn techniques to evaluate data and make strategic decisions.
  11. Games encourage holistic learning.  You can use games to transfer information and knowledge, to practice skills, or to change attitudes.
  12. Games provoke thought on multiple levels.  Games can teach factual information but they can also encourage thinking on the deeper levels of “How?” and “Why?”
  13. Games provide reinforcement and reward.  People can gain immediate satisfaction and accomplishment in their learning.
  14. Games appeal to different learning styles.  People who read, write, draw, or learn through movement can find an outlet in games.
  15. Serendipity!  With a well-designed and well-run game, you always get more than you expected (Just like finding 15 reasons for using games instead of only 12)!

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