Video games offer a deep learning experience
A well recognised benefit of video games is no doubt the cognitive development that games induce in their players. Games offer a deep learning experience and train exactly the skills employers are looking for. The opportunities to develop games that are specifically training these skills are endless!
Playing video games is often perceived as a lazy form of entertainment and concerned parents often want their children to be playing outside instead of playing so-called addictive games. Video games actually promote a wide range of cognitive skills. If we can identify which games are best at developing these skills, then we can use these in the overall cognitive development and education of our children and young people.
‘The Benefits of Playing Video Games’ by Isabela Granic, Adam Lobel, and Rutger C. M. E. Engels 2014
‘Use of Computer and Video Games in the Classroom‘ by John Kirriemuir
Videogames and Wellbeing: A Comprehensive Review, Gaming Research Group, Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre – Dr Daniel Johnson
Cognitive Development of skills
Problem solving skills/decision making skills
Traditionally video games train problem solving and strategy development skills by getting the player solve increasingly complicated problems. In many cases there is a time pressure which develops speed and decision making skills. Studies have shown that playing video games also increases creativity in young people.
Video game playing predominantly exercises the brain. In most cases it involves working out some sort of strategy to stay alive or defeat a boss; build a structure or blow one up. This makes it a very active pastime, at least on a cognitive level. This has been recognised by several researchers and clinicians and video game principles continue to be implemented in training situations, rehabilitation and other cognitive development exercises.
“First Person Shooters are often regarded as games that feature cognitive development”
Attention Allocation skills
Gamers have faster, more accurate attention allocation skills giving them the ability to prioritise decisions better and weigh up where their attention needs to be at a given time and for how long.
Spatial ability is a category of reasoning skills that refers to the capacity to think about objects in three dimensions and to draw conclusions about those objects from limited information. For example, a person with good spatial reasoning skills might be particularly quick to finish a tangram puzzle, a game in which smaller shapes must combine to form a larger shape. Someone with good spatial abilities might also be good at thinking about how an object will look when rotated. These skills are valuable in many real-world situations and can be improved with practice. Spatial skills are essential for maths, science, engineering and technology.
Video games are regularly used for their cognitive development ability
Video Games in the classroom
Video games combine instruction and demonstration, making it an effective learning technique. As such video games can be highly beneficial in a classroom environment by engaging children and young people and making learning fun. Many video games are specifically developed to link learning with fun. Some examples are: reading eggs, mathletics, spelling games.
Video games are also used in the rehabilitation of patients with some form of brain damage due to their clear benefits. Video gaming can stimulate neurogenesis (growth of new neurons) and connectivity in the brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning. Studies have demonstrated the direct causal link between video gaming and a volumetric brain increase. This proves that specific brain regions can be trained by means of video games.