Edublogging : why games are good

This is a copy of a post from my edublog - it's only about 400 words so is a little more readable than the sprawling (drawling?) 4000 words I put together the other day.

I'll try to spare you most of my writing but I enjoyed this one

Interactive multimedia makes Behaviourist learning strategies more engaging.

The use of simple online games and quizzes provides positive reinforcement to learners and adds interest to subjects which focus on fact based learning by bringing variety and heightened sensory experiences to repetitive tasks.

Robyler and Harviluk (1997) point out that among the “needs addressed by directed instruction” (their term for the Behaviourist approach) are “making learning paths more efficient... especially for instruction in skills that are prerequisite to higher-level skills” and “performing time-consuming and labor intensive tasks (e.g., skill practice), freeing teacher time for other, more complex student needs”.

This has been demonstrated in a project undertaken in the Learning Medical Terminology subject at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT).

Anecdotal evidence from the teacher of the subject indicates that students now learn and retain the words more quickly and complain less about the subject.

This heuristic is useful to me as a learning resource developer at CIT as we are part of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector and many of the initial subjects in our courses require learners to acquire a certain base level of technical subject-specific knowledge. Many of these games can be produced easily by teachers with free or inexpensive software and require minimal technical ability to create and put online.

I chose to write about it as I am a firm believer in the educational possibilities of interactive multimedia, particularly in the form of games and quizzes. Games are a familiar, accessible and engaging medium which can be used in situations ranging from Behaviourist drill and practice exercises to more Constructivist problem based scenarios. There is currently a growing group of educational game producers – known as the Serious Games movement – focussing heavily on the possibilities of the latter.

Learning practitioners wishing to make use of interactive multimedia in the form of games and quizzes should allow themselves adequate time to become familiar with the game/quiz creating software that they wish to use. While most of it is designed with the less technically inclined user in mind (i.e. a wizard based approach), it can often still require the uploading of multiple supporting image and javascript files to your website or learning management system.


Robyler, M.D., Ewards, J., & Harviluk, M.A. (1997) Integrating educational technology into teaching. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Chapter 3, p. 54 – 77.

Simpson, C., (2005). Medical Terminology – Prefixes and Suffixes. Retrieved 23/7/2007 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTfs4axi1YU

Ertmer, P.A. & Newby, T.J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50-72. (abstract)

Oliver, R. & Herrington, J. (2001) Teaching and Learning Online (p.52) Western Australia, Edith Cowan University

Wikipedia - Serious Game. Retrieved 23/7/2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serious_game