Developing Learning Skills With Video Games

The assertion is that thinking and learning skills can be developed by playing some adventure/simulation/role playing games.

Video Games Are Violent

Many videos games (not all) are violent. Although the list below of potential benefits that might be received from playing video games is valid, there are many games that, some might say, are just too violent for children (of any age) to play. The research on how violent games influences children, particularly young children, is pretty conclusive. So nothing in this article should be construed as an endorsement of video games generally, or any video game in particular. As in every other situation, parents and teachers need to exercise judgment on what video games children play.

Video games are rated according to the kind of content they contain, and the audience they are aimed at, and usually the ratings are explained on the package. In general, games rated Teen or Mature merit some attention as the possibility of violent content is there. If you are looking for a video game that has true educational value, that doesn't come packaged with the stress of worrying about possible violent/sexual content, the trick is to find good role playing games, simulation games, or adventure games that do not embrace violence or excessive sexual simulaton (yes, there are many!).

  1. Reading. Playing some adventure games forces you to read and to read carefully. It's important to read carefully enough to get information that will help you solve the problems that are presented. You can improve your reading by practice.
  2. Logical Thinking. There are many different kinds of thinking, and they can all be improved by trying them and by practicing them. Here is an example of a situation where logical thinking is required: You need to get into a building, but it's locked. Logically, what methods or steps would you use to fulfill your objective (getting inside the building)? When you need to get into a building, here are the steps that need to be taken: Get keys from pocket, select correct key, insert key into lock, turn key, open door handle, push door open. Each step is required. The methods used to open a door are obvious, but most students need to think the steps through before they can use them. Another example of a thinking skill is the ability to think in sequential order. It's surprising how difficult that is for some people. Things need to be done in the correct order - in real life and in computer simulations.
  3. Observation Skills. It's amazing how little little is seen by some people - in real life and in simulations. People whose livelihoods depend on the quality of their observations - scientists, quarterbacks, etc. - notice every detail and use it in planning strategy. The LOOK AT command in simulations allow you to observe.
  4. Map Making And Map Reading Skills. Many students are poor at reading maps. Let's cut to the chase; many people of all walks of life couldn't use a map to navigate their way out of a paper bag! Many eighth graders don't remember the relation between North South East and West. Many don't remember that on maps, North is usually at the top. As with every skill, practicing working with maps improves these skills. Students also find it helpful to create a map when using most simulation or role-playing games.
  5. Vocabulary Development. Using simulations can improve your vocabulary. Players will encounter words they don't know, but words you need to know to be successful in the simulation the game is providing.
  6. Familiar Knowledge. Familiar knowledge is knowledge of common things. In simulation games, experiences are expanded. You get to go places and have experiences which you couldn't really have in real life. You visit places that you wouldn't normally visit, like the River Nile in Egypt, or interact with animals it would be too dangerous to be close to in real life, for example computer scientists, snakes, tigers etc.
  7. Spelling. Sometimes, but not always, it's important to spell things correctly in order to succeed in a simulation game. When you spell a word correctly, you help yourself to remember the correct spelling of that word.
  8. Note Taking. The simple acts of taking notes, organising them, and later retrieving them is good study skills practice. And successful role-playing gamers often develop these skills.
  9. Problem Solving. Problem solving ability can be learned and practiced. At almost every step in a simulation game you will be expected to solve a problem. This skill is an important skill in school, college, and in almost every career.
  10. Developing Strategies. What methods should be used over the long haul to solve a problem? What steps need to be taken? Developing strategies is one part of problem solving.

Who Uses Simulation/Adventure Games

  1. Education. Many colleges and institutions use simulations for educational purposes.
  2. Business. Many industries and businesses use computer simulations to train their employees and executives. There are driving and flying simulators, Wall Street simulators, production line simulators, and many other types of business simulators.
  3. Military. Computer simulations are common in the military. They help officers learn military strategy, without the risk of incurring costly mistakes.
  4. Flight training. Almost all pilots do some training on computer flight simulators.
  5. NASA. Astronauts train on simulators before embarking on real missions.