Tag Archives: play

Join us at the new Play + Learn conference

I delighted to announce a brand new initiative focussing on play and learning in the UK. The inaugural Play+Learn conference will take place on 17-19 June 2015 at the University of Bradford. Play is our most elemental vehicle for learning, and new digital tools like games provide whole new worlds for exploration and interaction. Together we’ll explore how we can make learning and training more engaging […]

Let the children play, it’s good for them

I read this fascinating article by Alison Gopnik on Smithsonian.com and I wanted to share the main thrust of it because I think it reiterates the importance of play. “Walk into any preschool and you’ll find toddling superheroes battling imaginary monsters. We take it for granted that young children play and, especially, pretend. Why do […]

The neurology of gaming

There is ongoing debate about how our brains respond to gaming.  I found this infographic from the Online Universities blog interesting. I particularly like the information about which parts of the brain are stimulated by playing video games but I think the jury is still out regarding the effects.  What do you think?

Social Learning and Games

In this final look at how each of the major learning theories relate to games, we explore the ideas behind social learning.  In the social and contextual approach to learning, the outcome is for the learner to become socially accepted and to be an effective member within a community.  This is what is commonly referred […]

Experiential learning and Games

Many theorists propose that we learn from our experiences that is, that effective perception and processing of experiences improves performance. Merrill suggests that the most effective learning environments have problem solving as their basis.  This trial and improvement, problem-solving covers four distinct phases of learning: Activation of prior experience; Demonstration of skills; Application of skills; […]

Constructivism and Games

Continuing my series on the relationship between the various learning theories and games, this post explores the idea of constructivism. From the constructivist perspective, learning is not a stimulus-response phenomenon as described by Behaviourism, rather it requires self-regulation and the building of conceptual structures through reflection and abstraction[1]. In constructivist theory, the learner takes an […]

Cognitivism and games

In this, the second part of my series on examining how learning theories relate to game play, I’m looking at the theory that suggests learning is dependent on mental capacity – cognitivism. Cognitivism replaced Behaviourism as the dominant learning paradigm in the 1960s[1]. Cognitive psychology proposes that learning comes from mental activity such as memory, […]

What Games are Good For?

In spite of my criticisms of many educational games, I believe passionately in the potential of games to inspire learning. I don’t think that games are a panacea but they do have many characteristics that can make a profoundly positive impact on our lives.  The real educational value for gaming lies in four key areas: […]

Educational games

Yesterday I spoke at BAF Games.  This is a summary of my ‘Play with Learning’ talk.  I have embedded links to supporting information into the post .  Sadly, I couldn’t capture the lively Q&A session afterwards. I made my first game as a young teenager – a board game so incomprehensibly complex and tedious, it only […]