LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

The Future of Games Based Learning

6 minUTE read

Research indicates that game-based learning can surpass traditional teaching and training methods in effectiveness. With the emergence of new technologies and the educational potential of popular gaming platforms like Roblox, game-based learning has the remarkable potential to transform education and professional development.

In the realm of education and professional development, games-based learning is set to undergo a significant evolution over the next decade.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of education and professional training, games-based learning is at the forefront of innovative approaches to teaching and skill development.

As we look ahead into the next 5 to 10 years, the potential for games-based learning to transform both classroom environments and workplace training programmes is one not to ignore.

In this blog article we explore the direction we anticipate this evolution of games-based learning heading – as a studio involved in making it.

The Rise of Immersive Educational Experiences

In the realm of education and professional development, games-based learning is set to undergo a significant evolution over the next decade.

Already, games like BBC Bitesize: Atomic Labs, which brings the laboratory experience into student's homes, allow students to learn in new and innovate ways.

Emerging platforms such as Roblox and Fortnite are pioneering the integration of gaming into educational contexts, transforming how learners engage with content. These platforms, known for their vast user-generated content and immersive experiences, are beginning to host educational games and simulations. This shift not only makes learning more engaging but also allows educators and learners to tap into large, active communities where learning can be both a personal and shared journey.

Moreover, the accessibility of game engines like Unreal Engine, which are moving towards more codeless environments, is democratising the creation of educational content. This means educators, as well as developers, with limited coding experience can create high quality custom learning experiences.

Such tools are going to close the gap between the high-quality game experiences people play at home on their PCs and consoles for recreation and those they play as part of their education or training.

Why will this happen? Well there is, perhaps, no greater motivator for the private sector than profit. The financial potential for businesses to invest in games-based learning cannot be overstated. As the effectiveness of games in education becomes increasingly evident, businesses are recognising the potential ROI of incorporating games into their training programmes. Engaging and effective learning experiences lead to better-skilled employees, reducing the need for repeated training and increasing overall productivity and job satisfaction. This is particularly true for sectors requiring constant upskilling in response to technological advancements.

The integration of virtual reality (VR) technology in educational settings has been slow so far, but is poised to transform the traditional classroom environment, offering immersive and interactive learning experiences that were previously unimaginable.

With the release of products like Apple Vision, and Meta showing increasing interest in purposeful games for health and education, the potential for VR to enhance education is becoming increasingly tangible. These technologies can transport students to historical battlefields, distant planets, or inside the human body, providing a depth of understanding and engagement that traditional methods struggle to achieve.

However, a significant challenge accompanies this technological leap: ensuring equitable access. The cost of VR hardware and the development of high-quality educational content can limit access to affluent schools and individuals, exacerbating existing educational inequalities.

The democratisation of VR technology in education, therefore, becomes a critical issue. Addressing this challenge requires concerted efforts from governments, educational institutions, and tech companies to subsidise costs, develop affordable VR solutions, and create open-access educational content. Only through such measures can the transformative potential of VR in education be realised for all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background.

A game screenshot

BBC Bitesize: Atomic Labs brings the laboratory experience into student's homes, where they can experiment in ways not possible in a real classroom environment.

Personalisation Through Artificial Intelligence

One of the pivotal evolutions within games-based learning is the shift towards highly personalised learning experiences, as powered by the fast-paced capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI).

Over the past decade, adaptive learning has become a cornerstone of Learning Management Systems (LMS), but the latest advances in AI open incredible opportunities for educational environments. These technologies herald a future where educational games can dynamically adjust to the learner's performance, learning style, and individual preferences, thereby crafting a tailored learning pathway that is unique to each student – something of a holy grail.

This leap towards personalisation has the potential to revolutionise the educational landscape, offering a blend of one-to-one instruction with human teachers and AI tutors. Such an approach democratises learning, bringing it directly to individuals on their own terms—accessible wherever they are and exactly when they need it.

This is particularly transformative for learners with special educational needs, for whom traditional educational models can pose significant barriers. AI-driven personalised learning environments can offer these students a level of individual attention and customisation that was previously unattainable, addressing their unique needs and learning styles.

The benefits of this approach are huge. For learners, it means education that is more engaging, accessible, and tailored to their personal journey. For educators, it offers a powerful tool to support their teaching, allowing them to focus their efforts more effectively and to approach teaching students in a more targeted way.

Overall, the integration of AI into games-based learning not only makes education more inclusive but also significantly enhances its effectiveness, promising a future where learning is not just a one-size-fits-all proposition but a personalised experience that adapts to the needs of every individual learner.

Collaborative Learning Environments: The Next Frontier

As we navigate the future of education, the emphasis on collaborative learning environments within games-based learning is set to deepen. Multiplayer educational games have the unique capability to cultivate a social learning atmosphere, wherein skills critical to both personal and professional development—such as teamwork, communication, and leadership—are not only encouraged but actively developed. This transformative approach to learning can revolutionise classroom dynamics, making education a more interactive, engaging, and communal experience. Similarly, in the workplace, it serves as an invaluable tool for team building and enhancing group dynamics, fostering a culture of collaboration and mutual support.

In addition to the traditional gaming platforms, social media platforms like TikTok are recognising the imperative to integrate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into their operations, especially in light of the ongoing scrutiny regarding their impact on younger audiences. These platforms are uniquely positioned to address soft learning objectives through their massively engaged user base.

 The challenge, however, lies in crafting educational content that is both informative and engaging when compared with regular social media content — a creative challenge that needs to be taken on.

By leveraging their powerful access to people's lives, platforms like TikTok can introduce educational content – or perhaps better termed “content for good” - that is not only accessible but also appealing to a younger demographic, thereby contributing positively to their development.

Emerging games platforms such as Roblox are making significant inroads into the educational sector, moving beyond just gaming to become a vital educational tool. Recognising the potential of such platforms to enhance learning, efforts are being made to integrate them into classroom settings. Roblox, for example, already provides support for teachers, enabling them to use the platform's educational content safely and constructively in classrooms.

This includes not just the use of the platform's games for educational purposes but also empowering students to become creators themselves, thereby learning valuable skills in coding, game design, and digital storytelling.

This dual approach—leveraging both gaming platforms and social media—highlights a comprehensive strategy towards collaborative and interactive learning. By embracing these technologies, educators can create learning environments that are not only more engaging and effective but also more aligned with the interests and habits of today's learners.

Roblox game characters in a school library

Roblox has professionally produced educational games and provides resources and guides for teachers so they can bring Roblox into the classroom.

Continuous and Just-in-Time Learning

In today's fast-paced professional landscape, the imperative for continuous learning and upskilling can mean the difference between a success and failure, and in extreme cases life and death.

With the complexity and breadth of knowledge required in many fields, it's unrealistic to expect individuals, such as paramedics, surgeons or even engineers, to retain detailed information about every situation they may come upon in their roles.

This is where games-based learning platforms emerge as a performance critical solution, offering on-demand, just-in-time learning resources that professionals can access to enhance their skills precisely when needed.

This approach to professional development will become particularly crucial for those in high-stakes fields where the ability to quickly adapt and apply knowledge can be life-saving. For example, AI-driven learning systems are being developed to assess emergency situations in real-time, providing first responders with immediate advice and training. These in-the-field and reactive learning systems are poised to become indispensable tools in improving performance and outcomes.

By delivering targeted information and training at critical moments, these platforms not only support continuous learning but also empower professionals to respond more effectively to the demands of their work, ensuring they have the necessary knowledge and skills at their fingertips.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the future of games-based learning is bright, it is not without its challenges. Ensuring equitable access to the necessary technology remains a significant hurdle, particularly in underserved communities.

As the use of games in education and training expands, maintaining a balance between engagement and educational value will be crucial. Ensuring that these games are not just fun but also effective in meeting learning objectives will be a key focus for developers and educators alike.

Additionally, the role of educators in guiding and facilitating games-based learning will evolve. Teachers and trainers will need to become adept at integrating these tools into their teaching strategies, requiring ongoing professional development and support.

The Road Ahead

The next decade promises a significant transformation in how we approach learning and development, with games-based learning at the heart of this change. By harnessing the power of technology, personalisation, and collaboration, educational games have the potential to make learning more engaging, effective, and accessible.

However, realising this potential will require a concerted effort from educators, developers, policymakers, and learners themselves. Addressing challenges related to access, quality, and pedagogical effectiveness will be critical in ensuring that games-based learning fulfils its promise as a transformative educational tool.

The future of games based learning looks bright and it’s clear that it will play a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of learners and leaders. By embracing this innovative approach, we can create a more inclusive, engaging, and effective educational landscape for all.

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