Game Based Learning

A few years ago, when Advergaming slowly became an old concept, the topic of "Serious Games" started to get some drive. I was looking at some of our projects and said to myself: "hey we actually do serious games, too!".

We never liked the term "serious games". I read that there were discussions about it but still "serious games" is mostly used. Our key idea for learning via gaming is, that the learning process is built-in, not obvious. You just play and somehow without noticing you learn new things. I mean, that's actually a natural element of a game anyways: there is some kind of challenge, because if it's too easy, it's no fun. If it's too difficult it's no fun!

Moreover, game-makers know: players don't like to read pages over pages on how to play a game (in general, there are always exceptions!). So there are many games out there with in-game tutorials, so it's learning by doing in many cases already. Learning by doing or learning by exploring …

So therefore we prefer the expression "Game Based Learning" (GBL) or to be more precise "Digitial Game Based Learning" (DGBL). It's very different to "traditional" eLearning. eLearning still contains a lot of the old spirit for non-interactive teaching methods.

I looked at some other projects and I realized that some were different. They contained more "realism" and they fitted more the idea of  "training". It also requires tools to measure and report improvements in a formal way. A game score alone might not be enough. I like to use the term "Computer Based Training" (CBT) for these kind of applications.

Game Based Learning and Computer Based Training are different but you can gradually mix them. Nowadays I usually put them on a imaginary slider and I  mix between them based on the requirements and aims.

GBL <——0—-> CBT

For GBL fun is the priority. Reality is not important. For CBT reality is more important and therefore fun is not the key element. Usually CBT are more VR-like (Virtual Reality). If you work in this domain, what terms do you use and/or prefer?