There is a lot of attention being given to the idea of using computer games for learning and although games have been used in learning for decades, the context of using games for learning is now closely aligned to the notion of an interactive product that runs on a computer rather than a paper-based or board game. Games and simulations seem to be converging and both can be motivating and have pedagogical value. It is largely recognised that games need the support of a tutor to help students to process their experience and to ensure that the educational activity and any subsequent discussion meet the educational objective. Games based learning activities could provide a way to widen participation and engage with non-traditional or disaffected learners.
JISC has been actively engaged in games based learning developments with funding made available through the eLearning Innovation Programme which looks at the use of innovative technologies and models to support eLearning. Of particular interest in terms of using games and simulations for learning are Racing Academy and SIMPLE (Simulated Professional Learning).
Download the Games-based Learning briefing paper published in May 2007 for an overview of game-based learning and how it may be used to support effective learning and teaching practice. Projects are demonstrating that game-based and simulation-based learning approaches can bring learning alive in ways that can inspire and motivate interest for the subject and therefore offer new opportunities from tutors and learners alike.