Benefits of Game Based Learning: According to Research [2024]

Game-based learning refers to the incorporation of gaming elements into education. This technique aims to increase student engagement and motivation by leveraging aspects of gaming that spark interest, such as competition, rewards, and interactivity. As technology advances and younger generations become accustomed to using digital devices daily, game-based learning has emerged as an innovative approach that educators can utilize to captivate modern students. Implementing game-based learning provides numerous advantages that enhance the learning experience. Let’s explore some of the main benefits of using games in education.

Benefits of Game Based Learning

Increased Engagement and Motivation

One of the fundamental struggles teachers face is keeping students engaged and motivated to learn. Especially in the era of short attention spans and information overload, capturing a class’s focus is an ongoing battle. Research shows that game-based learning boosts student engagement and motivation levels more effectively than traditional teaching methods. The interactive, stimulating format of educational games entices students to actively participate for longer periods. This leads to better retention of the material. According to a meta-analysis published in the Review of Educational Research, students demonstrated more positive attitudes and higher engagement with game-based approaches compared to conventional instruction. These outcomes were consistent across K-16 grade levels and various subject areas.

Enhanced Knowledge Retention

Educational games have been proven to boost knowledge retention. The hands-on aspect gives students the opportunity to apply information instead of passively receiving it. This deeper level of active learning and evaluation strengthens understanding and memory.

For example, a study by the Federation of American Scientists found that students retained up to 75% more material when learned through well-designed games rather than through traditional teaching. Memory recall also increased by 14% among game-based learning students 6 months after the initial training.

Improved Critical Thinking and Decision-Making Abilities

Unlike static lectures or plain textbook material, games immerse students in interactive environments that promote critical thinking. Gameplay involves assessing situations, weighing options, making decisions, and evaluating the results in order to advance. As students navigate games’ built-in challenges, obstacles, and feedback mechanisms, they naturally develop sharper analytical skills.

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Research by the Education Development Center and the IBM Center for the Business of Government revealed significant improvements in critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities among K-12 students who learned with games. Similar findings were documented in a study published by the British Journal of Educational Technology.

Opportunities to Apply Knowledge

Traditional curriculum often focuses on theory and factual-based learning. While building this knowledge base is essential, students also need opportunities to apply the concepts. Educational games bridge this gap by enabling players to test out and implement information in simulation environments.

Instead of merely memorizing abstract ideas, game-based learning allows students to gain first-hand experience leveraging knowledge to achieve goals. This transforms theoretical information into practical understanding. Applying principles cements comprehension and prepares learners to utilize skills in real-world contexts.

Promotes Teamwork and Collaboration

Certain educational games place students in multiplayer situations that compel cooperation with peers to progress. Multiplayer formats promote teambuilding as groups strategize to overcome shared obstacles. The social interdependence inherent in these games nurtures soft skills like communication, leadership, and collaboration – capabilities demanded by modern workplaces.

Studies demonstrate that well-designed games highlighting team roles and goals yield significant improvements in students’ willingness and ability to work together. In fact, according to research published in Computers & Education, collaboration was the most prominent area of growth among gamers.

Customized and Personalized Experiences

Unlike standardized teaching materials and rigid curriculums, games enable self-paced instruction tailored to individuals’ abilities and needs. Built-in customization features – like selecting skill level or modifying settings to heighten or reduce challenges – give each student control over their learning path. This personalization drives higher achievement as content adapts to learners’ ongoing progress.

Educational games capture comprehensive performance data, allowing teachers to monitor students’ development and intervene with targeted guidance. Adjusting support and instruction to account for individual weaknesses and strengths prompts improved results. Learners also perceive personalized games as more relevant, boosting their investment in the experience.

Safe Risk-Taking Environment

Failure is fundamental for growth and self-improvement. However, fear of failure often hinders progress. Educational games provide low-stakes environments for students to experiment, take intellectual risks, and make mistakes without severe consequences. This empowers more ambitious endeavors, the exercise of creativity, and resilience building.

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Unlike high-pressure exams or standardized tests, gameplay mechanics, like earning bonuses, collecting rewards, earning badges, getting hints, or having multiple chances, keep students motivated despite setbacks. By diminishing repercussions of failure, games promote the critical thinking and intellectual daring necessary for achievement.

Accessibility and Inclusiveness

Thoughtfully designed games present students with varying capabilities and backgrounds with equitable opportunities to learn. Features like adjustable difficulty settings, guided feedback/hints, multi-modal content (text, audio, video), and subtitles allow customization for diverse needs and learning styles. These accommodations reduce barriers to entry for disadvantaged or disabled students.

Adaptable gaming materials proved especially valuable amid recent remote and hybrid learning models adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Well-built games kept students engaged in digital environments while offering interactivity otherwise lacking in online mediums. Such flexibility and accessibility will continue serving inclusivity in modern, technology-intensive classrooms.


While developing educational games demands initial investments, multiple studies confirm gameplay’s long-term cost-effectiveness. Games promote quicker acquisition and better retention of material, translating to reduced teaching time/costs. Multiplayer formats also enable efficient peer-to-peer instruction. Additionally, digitized games are easily distributable to large groups and reusable year after year with minimal marginal expenses.

Considering implementation expenses against games’ ability to boost grades, standardized test scores, and skills sought by employers, financial analysts argue gameplay yields unparalleled return-on-investment compared to other learning tools. With the global game-based learning market expected to grow over 17% annually, more stakeholders recognize the profitable value proposition of games.


In summary, research clearly substantiates gameplay’s instructional advantages. Thoughtfully designed games increase student participation, recall, critical thinking, collaboration, personalized learning, and inclusion. Students also assume productive risk, apply knowledge, and gain real-world skills through gaming. While requiring initial development investments, well-built games promote efficient, cost-effective learning.

As technology permeates education, leveraging digitally engaging tools like games appears key to preparing modern students. Game-based learning empowers customizable, stimulating education that trains recipients for constantly evolving workplaces. Educators must embrace these best practices to equip youth with demands of the Information Age. Prioritizing games’ tested benefits will drive improved outcomes preparing capable citizens.

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What are some benefits of game-based learning?

Some key benefits of game-based learning include increased student engagement and knowledge retention, improved critical thinking and decision-making abilities, opportunities to apply information, enhanced teamwork and collaboration, customized learning experiences, encouragement of intellectual risk-taking, and inclusive accessibility for diverse learners.

How do games help students learn compared to traditional teaching methods?

Unlike passive learning models, educational games actively immerse students in interactive environments that compel focus, participation, critical evaluation, and hands-on application of concepts. This experiential format promotes deeper comprehension, better recall, and practical usage of material.

What do studies show about using games to teach students?

Numerous studies confirm game-based learning’s advantages. According to research, thoughtfully designed games yield increased subject interest, engagement, academic achievement, knowledge retention, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and standardized test scores across age groups and topics compared to conventional instruction.

Do games help students develop skills needed for careers?

Yes, well-constructed educational games teach vital career competencies like analytical thinking, decision analysis, teamwork, communication, project management, computational skills, data literacy, creativity, perseverance, and adaptability. Gameplay also prepares workers for technology-driven jobs.

Why should schools invest in educational games?

Investing in high-quality learning games generates positive educational outcomes that justify costs long-term. Games keep students actively engaged, allowing efficient peer-to-peer teaching. Digitized games are easily reusable for years with low marginal expenses. Considering gameplay’s proven performance benefits makes a persuasive financial case for adoption.