Playing games as I study

Interesting to read how games are practically being used for studying in Korea and America:

Playing games while studying? As you know, games are more known for the more negative aspects than their positive aspects. But here’s an example that integrates the function of gaming with education: Game based learning, have you heard of it? When I look into the classrooms of the school that is giving Game based learning a test run in Korea, I could find students looking at the computer monitors, falling deep into Game based learning even after the lesson was over. Let’s take a look at Game based learning to find out what aspects of it earned the recognition of its value in the American market.


What are the characteristics of functional games like Game based learning?

G-learning (Game based learning ) applies educational contents in order to deliver educational games. Its purpose is to give interest and fun to students about studying and promote academic achievement, while utilizing games. The game contents contain the regular education course and are applied to the class, allowing students to study and understand the basic concepts and principles of the experienced subjects through games. For Game based learning, the interaction between the students and teachers establishes a ground for more active and diverse interaction to occur.

Game based learning has an emphasis on harmonizing the studying and the enjoyment of playing the game. It solved the flaw of existing educational games, which heavily relied only toward fun and learning effect, and gave an emphasis to harmonizing studying and joy of playing game. Recently in the education field, one trend that is receiving attention is the constructivism learning. In order for students to learn, their active class participation is needed, and for that, various motivations are required, so in those aspects, Game based learning is perfectly suitable for the generation that is familiar with online games. While playing games, they have fun and learn. Game based learning’s basic premise is to utilize gaming’s optimal functions, to immerse and not repress the game.

For example, the method of Game based learning consists of game processes such as ‘Look for NPC, receive the order, accomplish the quest, and gain the item.’ It could be called a ‘digital textbook,’ which took the form of game, just like customized textbooks that are developed according to each school’s characteristics and education course. Teachers learn the method of Game based learning education beforehand through the training course, and they teach the educational material according to the process.


What is the difference after Game based learning has been applied

For a specific case, Balsan elementary school in Seoul utilized the Game based learning‘s ‘Sky Island’ math contents in 13 classes from the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades during the second semester in 2009. Game based learning ‘Sky Island Math’ is the ‘Sky Island Online,’ applied to the general math lesson. The ‘Sky Island’ has the story of ‘Maru’ from the past and ‘Ara’ from the present ascending to the heavens to save the palace and stabilize the peace of the palace. With the cute characters of SD(Super deformed) style, the users can develop and lead the story line, so they might give more captivating aspects.

For example, if students are learning about changing between decimal number to fraction, and vice versa, they each receive mission from the NPC (Non-player character) to solve it on their own leads. Students accomplish the mission as they collect the required items, doing the favor of the NPC and hunting. As they do so, they come to naturally understand the process of changing between decimal number to fraction, and vice versa. You would see a student working hard to collect eggs and milk, capturing a monster, after receiving a mission from the NPC. If they are learning about the concept of squares and calculation methods, they use Egg search Mission, three students making one team, they learn the concept of squares that is multiplying the same number several times with the teacher’s explanation. After that, within the game, they depart on the journey of collecting milk and eggs that are equal to the value of 3 square of 3, and 5 square of 3 under the mission given from the NPC.

kores's Game based Learning

After the schoolwork evaluation, the difference shows that the class with the Game based learning increased its average grade point by 2.43 points. And when the top, middle, and bottom groups were compared, the middle group with the Game based learning increased by 2.63 points more than the other middle group with the general lessons. One unique aspect from the results was that among the Game based learning class, the girls had an average of 15.59 points, where the girls from the general class had a 10.21 point average. So, with the Game based learning, the girls had improved more than the boys in schoolwork achievement. In total, the Game based learning decreased the resistance toward math and increased the focus on the school work. It was only possible that, through the curiosity that students have toward games, the Game based learning decreased the burden of the new lesson environment and the negative notions of math were removed allowing for a more ease into learning it.


Game based learning recognized in America

Korea's Game based Learning
Test running of Game based learning at La Ballona Elementary School in California

The experts say that with the reality of the American public education schools and the budget cuts, it caused the degradation of teachers’ qualifications, decreased the learning efficiency, and increased the gap of education among students. In order to solve such problems, the Game based learning that motivates and inspires both students and teachers, was introduced to America for their own test run.

Then, how effective is Game based learning? In September, 2010, a research was conducted with a class taught with general textbooks and another with Game based learning in La Ballona elementary school in Culver City, California. The result was that the grades for the class with Game based learning had 47% in bottom rank and 37% in top rank higher than the class with the general textbooks, showing the education effect of Game based learning. Since the game induced the interests in studying, the students’ preference in math increased 25% with the Game based learning. When compared to the past, students preferred Game based learning, and they wanted to recommend Game based learning to other students.


Game based learning Re-introduced in Korea, after the success in America

Korea's Game based Learning
Student playing Rose math

On the 21st, At Nonhyun Elementary school in Seoul, they began ‘Game based learning Rose Math’ class where students were to learn Math and English through game. And instead of being bored with learning Math and English, their response was explosive. It was conducted for four weeks, targeting thirty students with excellent records among the 5th grade. For this class, they use the same English contents and textbooks that are used in the American Game based learning, and during those four weeks, students are to receive the American math course for three hours per week. It is the first time for Game based learning, which was developed in Korea, then approved in the American public education, and then re-introduced back in to the Korean education field. Also it could be that Game based learning received global recognition for its global content.

Game based learning, is seen to be the first attempt of introducing the Korean public education school system practices to America, which President Obama emphasized. It is especially meaningful because there have been no other test cases using this educational method developed in Korea; not even in other Asian countries. Also, Phillip Christon is producing the documentary on the transformation of students, teachers, and parents through the Game based learning class.


*NOTE: This blog post is from The Presidential Council on Nation Branding’s Official blog ‘Korea brand blog’, on April 19 , 2011. If you have any further information about this blog post please contact us.( We will be happy to help you to get the related information. Thank you.


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