Sanjoy at Freakonomics shares some very interesting language-learning principles that he now uses for all his classroom teaching:
2. Daily practice.
3. No fear of mistakes.
4. Inductive (rather than deductive).
Sound familiar? Games are incredible dialed in to this list. Change “daily” to “repeated” and it might almost be the perfect definition of a game. On top of all the research, more and more anecdotal evidence that games are hyper-learning tools.
At the same time, we tend to only focus on the last one, fun, as the key part of games, not learning. We think of fun as the goal, not part of the path. We define what a game is in terms of fun, even though the above definition is likely better. What would happen if we instead thought of fun as a step towards learning?
PS If we do go down this road as a definition, I’d add a 7th: “Interesting”.