Why Current Educational Games Suck

What was the last thing you learned from a video game? I’ll wait…

I’ve learned a few things from gaming over the years, but a few blog posts here have really got me thinking about what’s wrong with our educational games.

One interesting post suggests that we should have more references to real things in our games, and that we have to inspire people to people to learn to go seek out the knowledge. I agree, but why does does the seeking have to be so tedious? Why aren’t there reward systems, flashy colors and interactivity in our regular learning?

Sal Khan of khanacademy.com has started doing what I believe to be a revolution in leaning games. First we start by adding points, keeping track of progress like a game, then we add things like achievements and soon… well the gring of learning something becomes as fun as the grind in an RPG game like World of Warcraft.

No one likes to grind (spend time doing something boring that is required), but what’s more fun:

Killing 100 of the same boring enemy in WoW to level up

or

Doing 100 of the same boring derivatives to advance in calculus?

Learning could take a page from games and add the same level of enjoyment that we get from seeing our achievements in games spring to life and tell us how awesome we are.

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