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Informal Learning and Video Games

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Great article entitled: Public Pedagogy through Video Games by James Paul Gee and Elizabeth Hayes (pdf here)

I think about computer and games learning in basically two ways.  Informal learning and formal learning. These aren’t exclusive viewpoints, nor are they necessarily contradictory. 

Formal learning using video games happens in a classroom, with highly structured lesson design, and clear assessment of learning objectives.  I advocate this type of use of video games because it fits with my occupation; an instructional designer and computer teacher.  I’ve always been focused on proving that video games are effective instructional tools.  if you are interested in a quick guide for games in education, click here (you can also click here to see everything I’ve written about games in education).

Informal learning refers to the inherent, automatic, and natural learning that happens when people play video games. It is this area that scholars like Gee and Schaeffer write so eloquently. My summary of their thinking is that games are inherently educational and computer games are excellent and complex learning systems. Just playing a complex computer game is educational.

I happen to agree with the informal learning ideas, but I spend more time thinking about formal uses.

In comes the above article, which is really good for understanding why computer games are inherently educational. The article discusses design, resources, and what the authors call call “affinity spaces”.



On 10 February 2009, Taylor Hengen inscribed the following thoughts about this post:

PopSci.com has just launched its PPX Leagues platform. The PopSci Predictions Exchange (PPX) allows players to bet on the future of science and technology. This is a great resource for elementary, middle, and high school teachers to engage students with real-world science and technology news. And now, teachers can create leagues of students

On 04 March 2009, Chris Chin inscribed the following thoughts about this post:

Excellent post. I feel that kids these days are so into video games and stuff that it would be nice to get a game where they can actually learn while they shoot up stuff.

I also read somewhere that a person was able to perform basic first aid stuff because he played a medic in a war video game and when he encountered a traffic accident, he was able to use what he learned in the video game to help an injured person.

Pretty wild stuff!

On 05 March 2009, Corey Mitchell inscribed the following thoughts about this post:

I agree that both formal and informal use of video games have a positive effect on the human brain.  Logic and reasoning are the primary brain functions used solve problems in video games, and stimulating these areas is beneficial for their use in other “real world” issues.  I agree that formal use could be more effective.


Corey M.

On 10 October 2009, video games for seniors inscribed the following thoughts about this post:

A good number of studies in the past have shown that playing video games has many positive benefits to senior health.video games for seniors

On 15 December 2009, Adam John inscribed the following thoughts about this post:

I also read somewhere that a person was able to perform basic first aid stuff because he played a medic in a war video game and when he encountered a traffic accident,he was able to use what he learned in the video game to help an injured person.



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Bill MacKenty, Chief Zuccini

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