Successful examples showing why learning through games works?

Here are some successful examples of why learning through games works.

Experiential Learning Instance 1: I remember the time when I undertook to construct a simple computer. At the end of the assignment I had effortlessly learnt... 1. The basics of an electric circuit. 2. The source of power for a circuit. 3. The binary system on which the computer functions. 4. The binary system is indicated electrically as current flowing or not in a circuit. 5. The concepts of a bit, byte, kilobyte, megabyte or a gigabyte.

Experiential Learning Instance 2: Stories are great instances of successful examples for long-term learning. Do you remember the times that stories were read to you about historical personalities like emperors or civic leaders? You heard about Emperors Akbar, King Nebuchadnezzar, President Lincoln and Gandhi. Through them you became aware of places like the Red Fort, the Hanging Gardens of Babylonia, the Lincoln Memorial, and the successful non-violent freedom movement in India. You never forgot the connections between the people and the places, because you heard about them through stories.

Experiential Learning Instance 3: Here's a successful example that many of you can relate to. Remember the time that you understood nouns when somebody played 'Name, Place, Animal, Thing' with you.

Experiential Learning Instance 4: I remember the time when I learned to read a map. As a family we played 'find the place' with an atlas. I learned to zero in on a place by identifying the latitude and longitude closest to the city/river that I was meant to locate.

Experiential Learning Instance 5: Here's another successful example of learning through games. How about the times when you played Chess or 'Cross and dots' or 'Complete the square'. You learned to strategize, to 'loose the battle but win the war'. As an eight-year old my son was able to beat me hands down in a game of cross and dots everytime.

Do you shout at your children when they aggravate you with their stubborness?

Experiential Learning Instance 6: Another succesful example has to do with how I learned to memorize effectively in school. My teacher used to bring in a tray full of assorted things to class. She then gave us a few seconds to gaze at the tray. We then listed out all those things that we remembered seeing on it. With the teacher's help I realized that I could remember the names of most of the objects on the tray when I grouped them together meaningfully.

Experiential Learning Instance 7: Or there was the succesful example of a contest in my organisation when we played the game of 'pictionary' as an energiser on a busy day. During the game we discovered a team member with the extraordinary ability to graphically represent words on paper. We won the contest due to her. The organization later assigned her the task of developing graphics for the study materials.

What are the common elements in the above succesful examples?

  • Fun: All the above successful examples involve happy emotions - the substance of fun and games.
  • Experience: They also include an Experience
  • Awareness: They involve an expert or tutor who brings to awareness the principles which will enable you to succeed.
  • Repetition: The successful examples involve repetition of the experience to transform awareness into learning. Enough repetition could further transform this learning into a Habit

Example of Experiential Learning

© For the above picture

Kolb in his book The Importance of Learning Style describes the Experiential Learning Theory. He says learning is an all encompassing engagement of emotions, perceptions (what you see), the intellect and actions. He explains learning as an experiential cycle. The cycle encircles the four parts of learning.

The four parts of learning are:

  • Concrete Experience: An experience that involves emotions, perceptions, intellect and action.
  • Reflective Observation: When you reflect on an experience to identify the principles.
  • Abstract Conceptualization: When you are able to identify the rules or principles in an experience.
  • Active Experimentation: Seeking further opportunities to repeat the experience in order to perfect learning.

The basic component of the cycle is 'experience'. This site is filled with experiential learning games and fun activities which will ensure long-lasting learning.

So, go-ahead, dig in and discover for yourself the games that suit your needs and use them in your work. Get in touch with us to know more about other successful examples of experiential learning through games.

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Also get a monthly e-zine 'Stories for EL' free for stories that you can use to emphasise experiential learning. Stories and their lessons are easily remembered.

They can also be used to communicate a concept effectively. They add the 'aha' or 'Eureka' or 'got it' factor to presentations and lectures. They are great tools to use in debriefs of games, to drive home a crucial point.

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