What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (Gee)

Gee, J.P. (2003). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. ACM Computers in Entertainment.

In this brief article (a summary of his much more comprehensive book) Gee makes the case that good games incorporate many learning principles that are supported by research in cognitive science. Furthermore, he feels that games should be used to enhance learning in schools, workplaces and in the home.

Examples of effective learning principles embedded in good video games:

  • Information is provided “on demand” and “just in time,” not out of context.
  • Games remain challenging yet doable.
  • Players feel like producers not just consumers.
  • Games structure problems in a “fruitful order” — early levels function as tutorials and set up skills for later challenges.
  • Games create a “cycle of expertise.”
  • Games are highly motivating.
  • Games engage players in “action at a distance.”
  • Gamers always play some character, thus embodying a new identity or role.
  • MMOGs involve teamwork, collaboration, and creation of distributed knowledge.
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