I have always been fascinated by psychology and the reasons for our actions. This curiosity includes why we are drawn to gaming and the explosion that is the gaming world. There are many factors that I have considered thus far. Some of which came from Keith Stuart’s post.
I, as well as many, love puzzles. Succeeding in the attempt to solve a complex issue or game is thrilling. It is also enticing and difficult for me to ‘put down’. This makes gaming a fun and interesting way to learn.
Beyond puzzles and games, there is the entertainment value of gaming. Magic, triumph over evil, dream-worlds, or interesting characters entice the player. Interesting story lines that keep us wanting more also help.
Escaping our own world where we may feel inadequate and joining a world in which we are superior is an obvious draw. I consider friends and members of my own family who choose gaming over many real-world experiences because of the satisfaction and success they feel when playing. They do not feel the same success in their personal lives, causing them to go back into the gaming world.
There is also a social aspect to gaming that cannot be ignored. I know that I can feel more comfortable working with someone online versus in person on a problem as I feel less judged and more accepted in the gaming world. Our own feelings of inadequacy are often not evident when we are in a virtual world. We are who we choose to be, and that can include a higher level of esteem and confidence.
Understanding the reasons behind the explosive success of gaming, an educator is able to reflect and understand both their learner and how to meet their needs. Understanding the reasons a learner feels the need to escape in gaming can help the educator build upon the learner’s strengths as well as how to build upon their weaknesses. Empowering a learner and helping them realize their potential is a goal of educators. Why then, would we ignore a source of this empowerment? Gaming can be the means to reaching our learners and helping bridge the confidence they have in gaming to their lack of confidence in the ‘real-world’.