Do Games and Simulations Teach?

Games and simulations have become increasingly popular in educational contexts due to their potential to engage and motivate learners. However, the question remains: do they effectively promote learning? Recent research provides insight into the effectiveness of games and simulations as educational tools.

A meta-analysis by Girard et al. (2013) investigated the effectiveness of serious games for learning in higher education. The results indicated that serious games moderately affected learning outcomes, suggesting they can be effective tools for promoting learning in higher education.

Another study by Zhonggen(2019) explored the effectiveness of gamification as an approach to promote learning and engagement in various domains. The study found that gamification can be an effective tool for promoting engagement and motivation.

In addition to promoting engagement and motivation, games and simulations can provide learners with opportunities to apply knowledge and skills in realistic scenarios. This is based on the idea that authentic tasks and problems are more engaging and effective in promoting learning than artificial or contrived ones. Furthermore, games and simulations can provide learners with immediate feedback on their performance, which can help them to understand and correct their mistakes.

However, the effectiveness of games and simulations depends on the quality of the design and the alignment with learning objectives.


Girard, C., Ecalle, J., & Magnan, A. (2013). Serious games as new educational tools: how effective are they? A meta‚Äźanalysis of recent studies. Journal of computer assisted learning, 29(3), 207-219.
Zhonggen, Y. (2019). A meta-analysis of use of serious games in education over a decade. International Journal of Computer Games Technology, 2019.

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