Should There Be More Gaming in Higher Education?

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Adult Female Video Game Education - Ashford University

While gaming is far from common in the classroom, it is still very popular, especially with young adults. In fact, the average age of a gamer is 34 years old, with 40% of them being female. We have seen gaming in classrooms start to show up more with our youth and their increased access to technology. And it appears to be helping in a good way, increasing engagement and interaction with the materials. However, in higher education, it doesn’t appear to show up nearly as often, even in online universities.

Let’s look back at the average gamer – many of them are the right age to be adult learners. They are ready to head back to school for higher education to gain a new career, a big promotion, or they have a personal desire to keep learning. Wouldn’t it make sense to engage this group with games that are not only fun, but also help them reach their personal goals? Some people seem to think so.

The Education Arcade is helping take the lead on creating gaming environments where anyone can learn. They perform research, interact with the community, and provide game options as a testing ground to continue developing better options over time. Moving forward, “the Education Arcade looks ahead to help drive new innovations by partnering with educational publishers, media companies, and game developers.” These partnerships are a good thing. As the education technology industry appears to be a hot topic for potential growth, gaming should keep pace if it wants to play a key role in helping adults learn.

There are also several other options out there, and we’d love to see them continue to push the limits. Start at #38 on this list of top educational gaming options. It provides 12 games made for the higher education crowd, pushing how they approach several subjects. Penn State is also leading the way with their Education Gaming Commons. Even the government has gotten behind it, wanting “educational software that’s as compelling as the best video game,” and providing grants to help companies do so.

So, should gaming be more common in higher education? It appears a lot of people think so. Every opportunity to further engage your students in the learning process should never be passed up. So if you log into class at an online university and it happens to look like Super Mario, get excited to play, it should be fun and educational.

Written by: Travis Taggart
Travis is a regular contributor to the Ashford University blog.

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