Gaming has become a popular pastime for many people worldwide. However, some people believe that video games are a waste of time and have no educational value. Contrary to popular belief, games can be an excellent tool for learning and development.
There is nothing wrong with making learning fun!
Our family has utilized video games, board games, and even games like I Spy to help with dyspraxia, dyslexia, and – perhaps shockingly to some – ADHD.
- Learning to read became a lot more exciting (and necessary) when you want to chat with your Minecraft party, generate command block actions, or need to know what is happening to your character.
- Diving into science is so much more interesting when you are comparing fictional creatures like Pokemon to modern day creatures, debating whether a human can absorb DNA and become different aliens like Ben 10, or thinking about cryptids and the possibility that you too could potentially find your own Pterosaur like the Secret Saturdays.
- Studying history suddenly became more “real” when we compare what happened way back when to what is happening now and discover the origins for a lot of what we do or say on autopilot.
We could go on and on but you most likely have already joined us on the “how this is/can be educational” train. So, without further ado, here are 18 ways video games can be educational with three game examples for each.
1. Enhance Problem-Solving Skills
Games require players to use their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to progress through the levels. They present challenges that players must overcome using various methods and strategies.
Requires players to build structures and create new things from limited resources, enhancing problem-solving and creativity skills.
- Portal 2
Challenges players to solve puzzles by using portals and physics, boosting their problem-solving and logical reasoning abilities.
Requires players to arrange falling blocks to form complete lines, improving their spatial awareness and critical thinking skills.
2. Improve Hand-Eye Coordination
Many games require players to use their hands and eyes simultaneously, improving their coordination and reaction time.
- Guitar Hero
Requires players to press buttons in time with the music, improving their hand-eye coordination and timing skills.
- Fruit Ninja
Requires players to slice fruit with their fingers while avoiding bombs, improving their coordination and reflexes.
- Call of Duty
Requires players to aim and shoot accurately, improving their hand-eye coordination and reaction time.
3. Foster Creativity
Games can provide an outlet for creativity and imagination, allowing players to express themselves and explore new ideas.
Allows players to create their levels and share them with others, fostering creativity and imagination.
- The Sims
Allows players to create and manage their virtual families, enhancing their creativity and storytelling abilities.
Allows players to build and create anything they can imagine, fostering creativity and problem-solving skills.
4. Improve Spatial Awareness
Games can improve spatial awareness and visual perception by challenging players to navigate complex environments.
- Mario Kart
TChallenges players to navigate complex courses while avoiding obstacles, improving their spatial awareness and reflexes.
Challenges players to navigate complex levels by using portals, improving their spatial awareness and problem-solving abilities.
- Tetris Effect
Challenges players to arrange falling blocks in a hypnotic and visually stimulating environment, improving their spatial awareness and multitasking abilities.
5. Develop Empathy
Games can help develop empathy by immersing players in the stories and experiences of others.
- Life is Strange
Follows a teenage girl as she navigates life-changing decisions and consequences, developing empathy and emotional intelligence.
- Gone Home
Allows players to explore a family’s home and discover their stories and struggles, developing empathy and understanding.
- That Dragon, Cancer
Follows a family’s journey through their child’s battle with cancer, developing empathy and compassion.
6. Improve Language Skills
Games can improve language skills by providing opportunities for players to read and interact with written and spoken language.
- Assassin’s Creed
Includes historical settings and characters, allowing players to learn about different cultures and languages.
- The Legend of Zelda
Includes puzzles and dialogue, improving players’ reading comprehension and vocabulary.
- Broken Age
Includes a rich narrative and dialogue, improving players’ listening comprehension and language production skills.
7. Foster Perseverance
Games can help foster perseverance by presenting challenges that require repeated attempts to overcome.
- Dark Souls
This game is notorious for its difficulty, requiring players to learn from their mistakes and persevere to progress.
- Super Meat Boy
Requires precise timing and skill, requiring players to persevere through countless failures to reach the end.
Follows a character’s journey to climb a mountain, requiring players to persevere through challenging obstacles and setbacks.
8. Develop Cultural Awareness
Games can provide opportunities for players to learn about and understand different cultures and experiences. While they should not be considered entirely accurate, they can be an interesting starting point for discussion or further research.
- Never Alone
Follows an Alaskan native girl and her fox companion as they explore their culture and mythology, developing players’ cultural understanding and appreciation.
- Papo & Yo
Explores the experiences of a young boy living in a Brazilian favela, developing players’ understanding of poverty and social issues.
- Valiant Hearts
Follows a group of characters during World War I, developing players’ understanding of historical events and perspectives.
9. Improve Decision-Making Skills
Games can improve decision-making skills by presenting players with choices and consequences.
- The Walking Dead
Follows a character’s journey during a zombie apocalypse, requiring players to make difficult decisions with lasting consequences.
- Mass Effect
Allows players to make choices that affect the story and characters, improving their decision-making and ethical reasoning skills.
- Detroit: Become Human
Follows androids as they navigate a world where they are treated as second-class citizens, requiring players to make choices that affect the characters and world around them.
10. Enhance Time Management Skills
Games can enhance time management skills by requiring players to prioritize tasks and manage resources.
- Stardew Valley
Requires players to manage a farm and prioritize tasks throughout the day, improving their time management and organization skills.
- Rollercoaster Tycoon
Requires players to manage a theme park and its resources, improving their time management and decision-making skills.
- Papers, Please
Requires players to manage a border checkpoint and prioritize tasks to ensure their family’s survival, improving their time management and critical thinking skills.
11. Develop Historical Understanding
Games can provide opportunities for players to learn about and understand historical events and perspectives. Once again, they should not be considered entirely accurate but most assuredly provide a solid jump off point for further research and discussion.
- Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Explores ancient Egypt and its history, providing players with an immersive experience and historical context.
Allows players to build and manage civilizations throughout history, providing opportunities for learning about different people, cultures, and events.
This game is set in an alternate history where the Nazis won World War II, providing a unique perspective on history. What were the key people and moments that determined the outcome? How would things have been different?
12. Develop Spatial Reasoning Skills
Games can develop spatial reasoning skills by presenting players with puzzles and challenges that require understanding of spatial relationships.
Requires players to use a portal gun to navigate through a series of increasingly challenging puzzles, improving their spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills.
Requires players to fit falling blocks together to create complete lines, improving their spatial reasoning and visualization skills.
Requires players to build and create structures in a 3D space, improving their spatial reasoning and creativity skills.
13. Enhance Strategic Thinking Skills
Games can enhance strategic thinking skills by presenting players with complex systems and challenges that require planning and foresight.
Requires players to form alliances and manage resources to fight off opposing parties, improving their strategic thinking and decision-making skills.
Requires players to manage resources, diplomacy, and military strategy to build and expand their civilization, improving their strategic thinking and planning skills.
Requires players to manage resources and build armies to defeat opponents, improving their strategic thinking and multitasking skills.
14. Improve Problem-Solving Skills
Games can improve problem-solving skills by presenting players with challenges that require creative and innovative solutions.
- The Witness
Requires players to solve puzzles using visual cues and environmental clues, improving their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Requires players to solve puzzles and riddles to progress through the game, improving their problem-solving and deductive reasoning skills.
- Breath of the Wild
Allows players to approach challenges and puzzles in a variety of ways, improving their problem-solving and creative thinking skills.
15. Foster Teamwork and Collaboration
Games can foster teamwork and collaboration by requiring players to work together to achieve a common goal.
Requires players to work together to achieve objectives and defeat opponents, improving their teamwork and communication skills.
- Sea of Thieves
Requires players to work together to manage a pirate ship and complete objectives, improving their teamwork and problem-solving skills.
- League of Legends
Requires players to work together to destroy the enemy team’s base, enhancing their teamwork and leadership skills.
16. Develop Motor Skills
Games can develop motor skills by requiring players to use hand-eye coordination and precise movements.
- Super Mario Bros.
Requires players to navigate through levels and obstacles using precise timing and movement, improving their motor skills and coordination.
- Dance Dance Revolution
Requires players to follow the beat and dance steps using precise movements, improving their motor skills and rhythm./li>
- Fruit Ninja
Requires players to slice fruit using precise movements, improving their motor skills and reaction time.
17. Improve Memory and Attention
Games can help boost memory and improve cognitive function by challenging players to remember and recall information.
Requires players to remember the location of cards and match them up, improving their memory and attention skills.
Requires players to remember and repeat a sequence of colors and sounds, improving their memory and attention skills.
- Brain Age
Challenges players to complete various tasks that improve their memory and cognitive function, such as remembering phone numbers and solving puzzles.
18. Develop Emotional Regulation
Games can help develop emotional regulation by presenting players with emotional experiences and challenges.
This game is a calming and emotional experience, encouraging players to reflect on their own emotions and experiences.
- The Last of Us
Follows characters through a post-apocalyptic world, presenting difficult emotional situations and requiring players to make tough decisions, encouraging emotional regulation and empathy.
- Life is Strange
Allows players to make choices that affect the story and characters, presenting emotional situations and encouraging reflection on consequences and emotions.
“Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought after with ardor and attended to with diligence.” ~ Abigail Adams