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This week was filled with some of the best stuff from the world of serious games, simulations and game based learning! Here’s a roundup of some of the most interesting things that caught our eye this week:

1. Minecraft digs deeper into learning as Serious Games gain popularity.

Serious Games like Minecraft engage students on a much deeper level with its emerging gameplay.

As you can imagine, us here at Indusgeeks love Minecraft, because as an educational tool it stands quite high above the rest, especially with the high levels of emergent gameplay. I think of the unique things the writer, Dean Groom, points out is that it’s reached a point where children NOT playing Minecraft in their spare time are the ones at a disadvantage, which actually shows a landmark shift in thinking. We have now come to a point where playing videogames are seen as an actual beneficial activity and not a waste of time as we’ve been used to hearing for so long by irate parents who struggle to get their children to focus.

All in all, Definitely worth reading!

2. Tapping Into the Potential of Games and Uninhibited Play for Learning

Continuing on the subject of game based learning, Jordan Shapiro, one of the big proponents for game based learning writes an excellent article on using the potential of video games to help teach children.

One paragraph in particular stands out for us here at Indusgeeks:

“Fiero, according to researchers at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Science Research at Stanford, is the emotion that first created the desire to leave the cave and conquer the world. It’s a craving for challenges that we can overcome, battles we can win, and dangers we can vanquish.

Scientist have recently documented that fiero is one of the most powerful neurochemical highs we can experience. It involves three different structures of the reward circuitry of the brain, including the mesocorticolimbic center, which is most typically associated with reward and addiction. Fiero is a rush unlike any other rush, and the more challenging the obstacle we overcome, the more intense the fiero.”

This is interesting, because this fiero is the holy grail for elearning and game based learning developers everywhere. To design a game whose purposes are both to have fun and educate without being chocolate covered broccoli and instead be something that encourages players to come backk again and again is something every serious game developer aspires to do and we here at Indusgeeks are no exception to this.

3. 4 Tips to Give Helpful Feedback to Your eLearners

Christie Wroten’s excellent article on instructional design was very informative. It addresses the common misconceptions most have regarding insertion of feedback, in that its mere presence isn’t enough to motivate. With that in mind, Christie’s suggestions make a lot of sense, especially the one about genuine praise.

This is something of an elementary mistake a lot of elearning solutions tend to make – too much praise, easily earned, will eventually diminish its value returning the user back to demotivation, if not frustration. Sparing your praise for moments when the learner actually “earns” it, by either answering 5 questions correctly in a row, solving a particularly complex puzzle or even providing a lesser known (but valid) solution to a problem are all very good times to lavish praise. On the other hand, meriting the answering of every question with a disproportionate amount of praise makes it highly insincere and actually ends up insulting the learner!

Well, that’s all for this week – stay tuned for another update on the world of Serious Games and Game Based Learning next week!