GBL is not about games, it’s about mindsets

Games don’t want to bow to the will of education, as every game designer knows, as soon as the fun stops – you’re dead. For example, kindergarten kids are supposed to count to 30 by the end of the year (I know, it’s crazy). Setting that as a limit in games would appear to the designer as ridiculous. Imagine if all games for young kids abides by the rules of the syllabus, not of the players. No game could score past 30, they could only use one of 50 sight-words and only ever discuss basic social-concepts and toilets.

Education likes to use competence before performance as it’s under pinning view, so that you have to have the mark, the qualification before doing something else. It’s how we have built the leveling system, and it’s broken. Very broken.

Games are the opposite to this – performance before competence. You have to level your way to mastery and understanding constantly to be relevant to anyone else in the game.

You can’t have a so called ‘flipped classoom’ until you have performance before competence – and to do that, you need an entirely new way of working and assessing – which is exactly what you get with Xbox Live, not blogs or wikis – unless you design them that way.

This is game based learning. You don’t need a game you need a new mindset.


6 thoughts on “GBL is not about games, it’s about mindsets

  1. Jump on in, get your feet wet, your boots muddy – learn through design and redesign, fail, get up, fail, succeed, smile, growl, jump around hysterically. Learning and achieving are messy. Hoops are for acrobats – and acrobats have learnt to jump through them by falling down a lot.
    The End.

  2. In 2010 Alvin Toffler was asked, again, about pubic education in America by Edutopia – his answer was predictable if you follow his writings – “close it down”. Earning my wings for working within the belly of the beast for 12-years, I am cashing out and trying a private venture in education that looks favorable upon game-based, project-based, and team-based pedagogy.

    Public education in the States is just not reformable.

    I enjoy reading your postings and your tenacity for educational reform.

    • Wow, thanks for that! – Good luck with the venture, saving the world seems a good thing to try James.

  3. True. All about self-autonomy in the end. Being able to take charge of your own learning. The things I have taught myself through interest and passion are the things which have stayed with me and serve me best. I think this is true of everyone.

  4. I think life is the opposite to many of the expectation on the education system. Performance before competence is definitely the way the world seems to work, most of the time.

    Observing students acquire survival language in a foreign country was once my daily fare as ther manager of a field study centre in a non-English speaking country. It was remarkable how quickly the competencies developed, through performance. We gave students no more instruction than one might encounter in the introduction to a game.

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