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Learning games play an increasingly important role in our society, but what exactly are learning games, how do they help us and much more you will learn in this article.

What is a learning game?

Educational games are games that focus on learning. An equally common name is the English term "educational games". They serve to impart knowledge in a playful way and to increase the motivation to learn.

Differences to Gamification

When game elements are used in a non-game context, this is called "gamification". This includes applications, games and the use of game elements in other areas. Learning games, on the other hand, exist exclusively in the form of games.but are part of gamification. More information on the topic of "gamification" can be found in the article „What is Gamification.

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Differences to Game-based Learning

Learning games are part of "game-based learning". Game-based learning is the process of incorporating playful elements into a learning context. More on this is explained in the article "What is Game-based Learning".

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Differences to Serious Games

Alongside educational games, serious games are a part of game-based learning. Serious games are games that often deal with serious and problematic topics. They serve to impart knowledge and place the entertainment aspect in the foreground. In contrast, educational games are only designed to convey a learning purpose. Further information is provided in the article "What is a serious game"

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Application of learning games

Already in early childhood, learning through play helps to memorise diverse facts more quickly and to store them in the long term. Through "learning by doing", complex contexts can be more easily anchored in the memory. Games are therefore an effective tool for imparting knowledge. Learning games should have an entertainment-oriented or educational game purpose. A combination of both is also possible. They are mainly used in education to simplify the learning process.

Eine weiße Oculus Quest von Facebook liegt im Gras


To make learning games effective, four basic principles of learning through play are needed. These principles are challenge, exploration and testing of one's skills, exploration of roles and identities, and application and immediate feedback. The challenge is to move the player forward by learning through their mistakes. The player should demonstrate his or her skills in the process. Since the virtual world does not contain "real" consequences, the player can interact more experimentally and test his skills in the virtual space.

In addition, the player can look at a problem from different perspectives because he can slip into different roles. This also creates new challenges, which encourage the player to master them creatively. Immediate feedback also plays an important role in increasing learning success. Furthermore, through the direct application of what has been learned, player success can be achieved, which motivates the player to constantly improve. You can find out more about this in the article "Educational Games - Possibilities and Limits of Learning through Play".


Learning games help to impart knowledge more quickly and to store it in the long term. In this way, complex contexts can be presented in a more comprehensible way. To develop an educational game effectively, the four basic principles of learning through play must be taken into account. These include challenge, exploration and testing of one's own skills, exploration of roles and identities, as well as application and immediate feedback.

An article from Danielle Kern written on 17.08.2020

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