Experiential Learning and The Role of Video Games


“All a video game is is a set of problems that you must solve in order to win,” James Gee said in the video below. 

Gee, who has been deemed a games and learning expert is a professor of literacy studies in the department of English at Arizona State University.

The Effects of Experiential Learning

As reported in a recent Mind/Shift story, Ten Surprising Truths about Video Games and Learning, Gee believes that important brain functions, such as rules, logic and calculating are no longer relevant to modern learning.  New theories reveal that human beings learn from experiences—that our brains can store every experience we’ve ever had, and that’s what informs our learning process.  Therefore, he says, learning is a result of well-designed experiences.

Earlier this year, he spoke at the Learning and Brain Conference. During the conference, he gave a presentation on 10 truths for video games.

Gee’s 10 Truths for Video Games in Learning

Video Games:

  1. Feed the Learning Process
  2. Obviate Testing
  3. Build on Experience
  4. Redefine Teachers as Learning Designers
  5. Teach Language Through Experience
  6. Entice Kids to Love Challenges
  7. Motivate Learning
  8. Teach Problem Solving
  9. Encourage Risk-Taking
  10. Provide Valid Learning Model for Schools

The Mind/Shift story provides more details on each of these truths.

Rethinking Learning

While video games provide a perfect model for experience-based learning, it can be difficult to re-imagine traditional learning to incorporate experiences.  While instructional designers continue to evolve to meet the needs of modern learners, is the traditional model of education many schools conform to getting in the way of positives shifts in learning? Imagine the things we could do if everyone was rethinking learning.

Whether you’re a school teacher or corporate instructional designer, what are you doing to rethink learning?

Always in Learning Mode,

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Low-Tech or High-Tech; Games Help Instruction


A recent story from Edutopia’s Tech2Learn Series highlights how technology helps one teacher differentiate instruction. Using a variety of programs, education blogger and teacher Robert Pronovost tailors math instruction to match students’ individual learning styles.

And as his data revealed, Pronovost’s students are improving at a much greater rate than students have in the past (before he had various tools and applications). Watch the video interview with Pronovost, below, and learn from this resource list he provided.

While technology is growing in influence in learning, as Pronovost says in the video, using computers is not the best tool for solving some problems. And for many, computers and high-tech tools simply aren’t available. Even without advanced technology, there are a variety of low-cost games that can be effective as well, as Chief Learning Officer mentioned in an article earlier this year, and we focused on during a recent ISD Now Forum.

How are you incorporating games into your teaching or training? Share tips and strategies with in the comments section, below!