When a game is not a game

All “learning games” are not alike. While the term is often tossed around to represent a current hot area in digital education, there’s a marked difference in approach and structure to the products that get plastered with this catch-all phrase.

At the NPR/KQED education news site MindShift, I break down “learning games” into three approaches: gamification, simulation and games.


It’s probably no surprise that perhaps the least widely understood is also the bright-shiniest — gamification. And experts I spoke with in this discipline for my analysis were hard-pressed to find digital learning examples that do gamification well.

But games? Simulations? A lot of solid research has been done since the turn of the century, and it promises to make a  huge difference in what really works when digital games and education meet.

Read, “What’s the difference between games and gamification?” over at MindShift. (And one of the experts quoted, Alex Chisholm, adds his own take at the Learning Games Network site.)