The use of playful elements in a non-game context is called gamification. Serious games, on the other hand, can only exist in the form of games. Gamification, however, can also include applications that exclusively involve the use of playful elements. For example, a points system in education can be used as a playful element. Gamified elements, especially rewards, can be used to motivate students. More information can be found in the article „What is gamification”.
The term "serious games" refers to games that are intended to impart knowledge in an entertaining way. This includes both simple learning games and games with problematic topics that require attention. They are part of gamification and are mainly implemented digitally.
The term "game-based learning" describes the process of integrating playful elements into a learning context. In contrast, serious games are games that serve to impart knowledge in an entertaining way. Thus they have a learning purpose, which is why they are part of game-based learning, as game-based learning is also associated with game-based learning. Furthermore, game-based learning differs in that it includes both digital and analogue game types. In the same way, the focus is on imparting knowledge. In contrast to serious games, no entertainment purpose is pursued. You can find out more about game-based learning in the article „What is Game Based learning”.
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Since many people often lack motivation to learn something, learning through games can help. Because of this, serious games pursue a multi-purpose and use entertainment elements. Carefully selected game mechanics must be used to keep the player hooked to the game.
Learning must be fun, so the entertainment factor plays the most important role. With the help of the correct use of the game flow, motivational cycle and three-phase cycle, the player can be motivated. This makes it easier and more effective to absorb knowledge.
The motivational cycle consists of three phases: Action, Reward and Motivation. Here, the player must be motivated by rewards, for example in the form of achievements. Likewise, a points system in a ranking list can help to motivate players in the long term. More on this topic can be found in the article "Serious Games: Learning is a Game".
The three-phase cycle consists of user behaviour, feedback and user judgement. The repetition of the three-phase cycle should enable the player to consolidate the knowledge learned. By constantly receiving direct and individual feedback, the player can change his behaviour and adapt his actions. In this way, learning successes can be achieved more quickly and easily.
Serious games are games with a multi-purpose, in which the focus is on entertainment. They serve to impart knowledge in an entertaining way and can be used in a wide variety of areas. In order to use serious games effectively, the correct use of game flow, game mechanics, motivational cycle and three-phase cycle plays an important role.
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