Learning by doing
There's really only one way to learn something. That is by doing it. The cognitive sciences call 'learning by doing' the most effective learning method. The more realistic and relevant the experience, the larger the learning effect.
Games can simulate reality and give players the feeling that they are truly experiencing something, blurring fiction and reality. This has various effects.
First, the rich context offers players the possibility to link what they have learned to earlier experiences and emotions, making the knowledge and understanding more enduring. Everything they learn can directly be used.
Furthermore, the new experiences make players trust their own success in overcoming certain obstacles. This makes it easier to overcome comparable obstacles in reality.
Many of our games contain a mix of three powerful ingredients: simulation, story and game elements. The balance between these differs, but the combination always provides powerful learning experiences.
The simulation makes sure that the game realistically reacts to players' actions. It catches reality in a model with which the players can experiment freely. The simulation gives a deeper understanding in complex processes and reveals connections.
The story is the metaphor that provides a rich context, making the learning experience relevant, concrete and meaningful. The story also gives players a shared frame of reference.
The game elements challenge players and make them press the buttons. They motivate the achievement of goals and reward the players for that.