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While usage of video games, serious games and educational apps is growing in primary and secondary education, vocational studies and higher education are still underrepresented in this field of innovative learning. However graduates are the biggest group of videogames players and may benefit from game-based learning approach if engaging and competitive game dynamics would be applied for learning.
This chapter analyses the application of videogames in vocational and technical training. Vocational education focuses on developing physical and practical skills needed for mastering specific objects and actions and each skill can be measured separately with very focused assessment tasks. This nature of learning allows easier application of videogames as they may be leveraged to simulate physical or practical actions and track learner behaviour, provide feedback and measure progress. Simulation especially using virtual or augmented reality is one of the most applicable type of videogames in respect to vocational education. Simulations are most effective when teacher provides additional materials, divide training into parts, provide feedback and coaching through the learning process.
Technologies and games have already become part of students life as more and more leisure activities become digitalised. Not only videogames industry is growing, but mobile devices, augmented reality solutions and smart city technologies bring the gamification to everyday actions. However, while everyday is surrounded by technologies, classroom persists to stay traditional, allowing some media to come in but still only for passive presentation purposes, lagging to capture the change of students interests and new ways of learning.
Games are complex systems that require player to develop specific skills to be able to progress through the game and win. Why couldn’t we use the games for teaching academic skills, that are taught in the classroom? Learning itself has a playful nature and for small children all the learning happens through play. If we would integrate learning objectives into the game and design assessment to capture students learning process as well as outcome, we will have a complex game system through which player is developing competencies intended by the game. Also, as proposed by various research, computer games applied in the classroom increase students’ engagement with the learning process.
Competencies that are developed through upper secondary and vocational education are of different nature however, in both cases are measured against very specific requirements defined either by the secondary education exam outline or the practical skill application setting. As both secondary and vocational education have very well defined performance outcomes for taught competencies, these educational settings are suitable for computer games integration into learning process as well as computer based learning assessment.
As the learning topics and required competencies in secondary and vocational education are less abstract, more repetitive and oriented to the practical application the recommended type of computer game for these learning settings is simulation. It simplifies the reality but maintains the authenticity of real situation while minimising complexity of it and is highly immersive and engaging.
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The V4T - Videogames 4 Teachers project © 2018