University instructional design experts and seasoned gamers say playing games is essential for professional development

game-educator-courseThere’s an old saying for writers that goes “Write what you know,” and now, it seems that current instructional practice is telling educators developing courses something similar: “Design what you know.”

Today’s course design is under incredible pressure from popular practices favored by students—practices like the inclusion of interactive mobile technology, blended learning, Flipped Learning, and the integration of peer community forums—and according to experts, understanding the reasons why students prefer these methods of instruction can be gleaned from taking part in gaming.

“We do games so that we can relate better to our students,” said Kae Novak, chair for ISTE’s SIG Virtual Environments and project lead instructional designer for student engagement and assessment at Front Range Community College. “Students constantly tell us that they wish classes were more like games, so knowing the parts of gaming that can be incorporated into learning helps to change our knowledge structure.”

Game for PD helps to teach educators new ways of incorporating characteristics of learning like persistence, problem solving, online collaboration, group dynamics, and social responsibility, she continued.

(Next page: Breaking down game elements for design)


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