I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.

Learning Theory

Clearly games are fun, but there is more to their appeal than that. Games impact upon us at a psychological level.

We need to be stimulated. Eric Berne – the father of Transactional Analysis – states our senses need to be stimulated for us to function correctly.  Also, probably like animals we prefer ‘to work for’ rather than ‘just be given’. Scientists have studied contrafreeloading, where animals show a preference working for food rather than simply eating out of a bowl. Games satisfy these needs.
Games are often built around stories. Stories are engaging, spark emotions and are memorable. They allow us to see different perspectives and explore cause and effect. See ‘the power of stories and Narrative based learning’.
Games feeds into human reward system. We are wired to seek things out; this can be in intrinsic (pleasure and accomplishment) and extrinsic terms (money and recognition). Games work in both way: intrinsic (fun plus high scores and new levels) and extrinsic (leader boards).
Eric Berne states that we hunger for recognition. It reinforces our identity and sense of belonging plus our self-esteem is bolstered. Games can provide status. Indeed – in the world of competitive games – the very best are celebrities and millionaires!
In addition to narrative, immersion is product of Flow. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi developed the concept of Flow,  which he states arises from a balance between challenge and skill level. When we are in Flow, the hours fly by – a state that gamers often experience.

Simulation Games

Experiential Learning

David Kolb published his learning styles model in 1984 where he outlined 4 stages to experiential learning. We have hacked the theory in terms of games based learning and overlaid Honey & Mumford’s learning styles.

  • Concrete Experience – (new or a reinterpretation) = Play
  • Reflective Observation (considering what was experienced) = Ponder
  • Abstract Conceptualization (reflections are built into an idea) = Piece Together
  • Active Experimentation (testing the new ideas) = Practice

The 4P’s provide a framework to enable people to learn and develop skills. They are also the ethos behind our programmes and products.

Learning through Play

It was very interactive and as you got put into different role plays, and interacted with other groups, you got to think about various issues from different points of view – Policy & Planning Officer Mersey Travel.