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Gaming is popular among teenagers and young adults. Serious games are of interest in the field of education. The term “serious games” is used most commonly to mean “games that have serious purposes,” not solely for entertainment. These are digital learning games that use modern gaming techniques.
Term game means the interaction between two or more participants (players/player or computer) that is controlled by certain rules and the action is generally goal oriented (Huhtamo &amp;amp; Kangas 2002, 19). Electronic games are a concept that includes different types of games. Computer games, Games played on-line and mobile games are all electronic games (Huhtamo &amp;amp; Kangas 2002, 9-10). Electronic games allow the player to control much bigger range of objects in the games than in any board games is possible. The rules in the electronic game can be learned while playing and no time has to be used to get to know the rules prior to playing (Eskelinen 2005, 73.)
Not until recent years have studies about using computer games as a tool in education been started. Mostly these are preceding studies and they regard computer games as one style among many ways of education. The reasons these studies give for using computer games in teaching are because they develop visual perceiving and reaction abilities and improve person’s flexibility, ingenuity and problem solving skills. (Eskelinen 2005, 103.)
Stone (2009, 142) defines serious games broadly as computer games created by using the high quality and techniques of current computer games. Pyrdy views serious games as games that are primary used for other purposes than entertainment (Purdy 2007, 3). These games are created for education, training and team development, they aren´t toys (Decisive-point 2009). Decisive-point is a company focused on designing serious games and they describe their games created as “highly focused training environments that allow the deliberate practice of targeted cognitive skills” (Decisive-point 2009). Cognitive skills are human skills like thinking, problem solving and learning (Hakkarainen etc. 2004, 387).
Pyrdy describes in his article several reasons which make serious games effective for learning. Learning by serious games is effective because the playing is hard and challenging. Player can learn by doing and they can try out different solutions. The game can be a virtual world where player is able to experiment and see the consequences that would happen also in real world. Goals in games help the learning process and achieving new levels and rewards gives a positive feeling of reaching the goals (Purdy 2007, 4.)
In serious game design the most important part is to try to create experiences and creating the content is in much smaller role. The goal is to create an experience where the player can practice the decisions that s/he is supposed to learn in real life and understand their importance. It’s also better to start with a small game that introduces the subject in generally, later it can be developed into more complicated, detailed learning (Purdy 2007, 6).
Corporate University Journal, Research,2007, http://corpu.com/site_media/journal/2007/1.pdf )
Your idea/solution in one sentence: Serious games for learning