How many of us have been raised to believe that games are hobbies and do not positively impact our personalities? On the contrary, we have been pushed to believe that video games lead to violent behavior and are a menace to society. Research has debunked the negative impact of gaming and is now widely encouraged as a tool for learning and building a skill set for the future.
In this blog, I will share how gaming builds learning muscle and can lead to holistic growth.
Before we get started, one research point that is important to remember is that gaming for all age groups needs to be time blocked and should not exceed 21 hours in a week. Beyond 21 hours, the advantage of playing declines steeply (source: Jane McGonigal – PhD in Game Design).
Jane McGonigal, an American Game Designer, built SuperBetter, a video game to self-heal from a traumatic brain injury. The science behind SuperBetter is to build resiliency through challenges and quests with fellow gamers. It helps with social connectedness and builds a sense of purpose.
Through Jane’s research, I found four direct effects that gaming has on learning:
1. Agility: Gaming as an experience pushes us to play as an individual and as a team member with the focus on the outcome. As learners, we do the same. At times, we learn solo or pick a peer to help us through the process. Gaming builds the skill of agility to turn directions without halting.
Research has shown that kids who play Minecraft and build their own cities are applying the same skills. Gaming encourages quick decision making and builds the skill to thrive towards a goal within a safe environment.
2. Resilience: Games help us fail, think about the failure and march forward. Games like Tetris, Candy Crush, FarmVille teach us adaptability, patience and the value of consistency. Another advantage of gaming and failing amongst strangers is that it builds self-awareness and disconnects failure from a person and connects it to an event.
Research has shown that kids who play Farm Heroes Saga have shown increased self regulation and focus in other aspects of their lives.
3. Growth Mindset: Games are designed to show failures as graceful, expected events and testing our endurance. Most games have multiple player lives, different ways to recharge lives and the motto of ‘never give up’. Games focus on progression and as we keep playing, our brains get rewired to thinking beyond failure and builds a mindset for growing.
As a kid, playing Super Mario taught me to keep moving forward, thrive through tough times and have fun in the journey.
4. Sense of possibility: Those who associate with being lifetime learners know that learning and the world of knowledge is vast. Gaming builds the muscle that helps with optimism and opens us to the thought that life is full of opportunities. A gamer who has lost multiple times won’t quit and that’s what we need in our learning paths.
As a kid, playing Alladin was a highlight. While the aim was simple, jumping through castles seemed like a never ending challenge.
For gamers out there, you are on the right path. For those who want to begin, this is your sign.
And for parents who are reading this and wondering if this is true, feel free to reach out. I’ll be happy to share research that proves the benefits of games and their positive impact on personalities.
Reference: I was listening to Shane Parish’s podcast with Jane McGonigal and that conversation inspired me to write this blog.
I hope you enjoyed this one! Please share it with your fellow learners. If you would like to chat more about learning, gaming or collaborate on a learning project, please feel free to write at – firstname.lastname@example.org.