“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning things.”
Diane Ackerman, Deep Play
Non-entertainment e- games are highly social, highly interactive experiences. Immediate and relevant feedback and positive reinforcement are additional keys to effective learning.
Non-entertainment games and simulations are one of the most popular tools for effective learning in non-formal education. Workshops and interactive events, in which games are core element, are significant part of youth trainings and exchanges. Games can awaken interest in issues and make a boring topic fun, and are well suited for learning content that requires practice.
However, to maintain engagement throughout the learning process and ensure effective learning, relevant content and design is also important. Most of the existing games use only traditional media (paper, flip charts, mimics etc.) and quite old-fashion technology of implementation. Even though traditional games in youth work are engaging, there is still a huge necessity to add more interactivity and flexibility. Especially the quality of the interaction can be improved. The use of multimedia elements to create reality is particularly important in non-formal education, to align the games with experiences from real life. The computer games industry has grown extremely quickly over the past few years. Young people are more used to playing computer games and show a great interest in their development.
One of the key assets of e-games is interaction.
Interaction has two important aspects:
:: The interaction of the player and the computer;
:: The inherently social aspect of games — you do them with other people.
Playing games promotes the formation of social groupings. While you can play alone, it is much more fun to play with others. This is why in pre-computer games the category of “solitaire games”, although not insignificant, is tiny compared to games that are played with others. Despite the industry’s initial (pre-networking) focus on single player games or games against the machine (an era in which we are still involved), the tendency of all computer games today is to become multi-player. And while game designers do attempt to put more and more of the creator’s “mind” into computer-based opponents or collaborators in games, we are still very far from being able to create anything with the true wiles of the real human mind. Critics who see computer gaming as an isolating activity, should be aware of this. Like the Net, computer games are actually bringing people into closer social interaction — although not necessarily face-to-face.