In the symposium “Games for Learning: Moving goal posts in educational game design”, scholars from a variety of disciplines as well as industry professionals met to discuss strategies for the developments and use of games in the classroom. As the educational potential of games depends on the age group targeted as well as the infrastructural context, the symposium addressed primary, secondary and higher education individually.
Prof. Wouter van Joolingen, scientific director of the Freudenthal Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, opened the event by reminding participants, that playing a game is always a learning experience, as players familiarize them with the specific rules and constraints, trying to devise a viable strategy to reach their goals. But game goals and learning goals are not always identical, and to meaningfully combine them requires a reflective design process, bringing together experts on games, pedagogy as well as the given subject matter.
Game-based instructional techniques
To use games for learning effectively, a solid empirical foundation is necessary. Dr. Pieter Wouters reported on how fruitful game-based instructional techniques have been in previous focus group tests, both to foster understanding and to motivate learns to engage more thoroughly with the topic at hand. Dr. Martijn Koops from the Instituut Archimedes at the Hogeschool Utrecht complemented this perspective by discussing his own hands-on experience with games he developed and implemented together with students.