How games can engage students and improve learning

By Marilyn Ault, eSchool News

Games that are highly engaging create a sense of “flow” for the players. Flow is the experience of being totally involved in an activity and usually involves high levels of both concentration and enjoyment. Game developers strive to create a sense of flow during game play because when a player achieves a state of total or compete focus, complete immersion, and limited awareness of time, there is also created a strong desire to repeat or extend the experience. There are a number of game features that have been identified as helping create a sense of flow. Some of these include, for example, ease of use, simplicity of play, clear goals, feedback, interactivity, competition, control over actions, and a sense of community. These features of a game do not have to be a part of the educational content of the game and can actually involve actions that are separate from the content that is the focus of the game.

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