Online gaming – A perfect blend of entertainment and education – Times of India

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CEO – The All-India Gaming Federation
Online gaming has always been perceived as the ultimate form of entertainment but with the evolution of the tech industry, it is also gaining recognition as a tool of learning.
The explosion of Web 2.0 technology increased opportunities to engage with technological applications in a collaborative and participatory way that have promoted information access, shared ideas, knowledge exchange, and content production.
Gaming can be a highly productive activity, which tests and develops a lot of transferable skills and abilities. Researchers globally are proving in several case studies how a regular gaming schedule can actually help to solve real-world problems; how it helps to stay focused and gain attention quickly over the slightest change in things around you.
Game-based learning has gained popularity as a method of teaching because it helps to establish and achieve learning targets, which includes engaging youngsters in a fun learning environment through instructive games as well as offering instant rewards.
Certain online games can also help students to improve their creativity and multi-tasking skills as well as enhance strategic thinking if proper direction and guidance are received from parents and teachers.
It also helps students to learn facts, gain general knowledge, and solve puzzles at a faster pace. Simply put, when a student can visualize while playing a game it can lead to learning with visualizations. Since online games are interactive, unlike books or movies that involve passive consumption of information, they encourage students to explore new topics and approaches to learning.
Even if teachers aren’t using a fully developed game in their class, they can use a process known as gamification, or weaving components of games such as points, leaderboards, and badges into lessons to enhance students’ engagement.
Seeing the potential, many universities and educational institutions are now banking on the power of gamification. Not only activities but also curriculum and concepts are being gamified to create an impact.
In addition, to promoting learning abilities, gaming also improves soft skills such as communication, team collaboration, and leadership. Many educational and non-educational games are centred on team building, thus stimulating students to play together. To achieve a goal, players must either work together or compete against each other, which leads them to refine their ability to develop and strengthen relationships. Success in gaming can also translate in better self-esteem, motivation, and engagement.
Online games are not only effective in learning but are also helpful for our overall mental health. Online games stimulate the mind, which depends on how complex the game is that makes the user think, strategize and analyse quickly. These qualities eventually lead to improving development and critical thinking skills. It also helps in improving mental health by creating distractions from negative thoughts, remuneration and works as a great reliever of stress and anxiety. Due to its versatility and potential for improving various important skills, gaming is an activity that can greatly benefit students, regardless of one’s age.
To improve the gaming experience further, designers must continue to pay attention to characteristics such as the technical challenges, modules and techniques associated with the game design, the players involved in gaming, and the teaching modes.
As people are beginning to recognize that learning, entertainment, and technology can all work well together for collective betterment, it is bringing online gaming in a positive light. Having said that, games aren’t substitutes for other forms of learning. Like any educational tool, they need to be well-planned and integrated only when they’re relevant to the learning objectives. With better gaming experiences and little more awareness among people, we can soon explore the untapped potential in gaming that can help transform it into an extraordinary tool for education and learning.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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