Most educational games teach skills, not thinking

Jordan Shapiro said:

The majority of [learning] games fail because they attempt to teach skills rather than thinking. They focus on retention rather than understanding. They miss the whole reason we should be excited about game-based learning in the first place: because it offers the potential to change the common way we approach teaching and learning. Games can help students improve their critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities while offering clear assessment data that could eliminate our dependency on regurgitation and memorization-based evaluations.

Expressing a similar concept, mathematics learning experts often make a distinction between “procedural fluency” and “mathematical thinking,” or “number sense.” Procedural fluency is just what it sounds like, being competent at executing mathematical procedures – like a human calculator. Mathematical thinking has to do with conceptual understanding. . . . simply put: computers can now do most procedural mathematics and individuals need to focus on learning number sense.


One Response to “Most educational games teach skills, not thinking”

  1. that is very unfortunate! Maybe it’s a function of the mental models both of the designers and of the users to mistakenly think that that is all educational games should be doing?!

    It is relatively simple to design immersive experiential gaming formats that require deep decision -making, creative problem solving, and critical thinking skills.

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