DGBL Learning Theories

This one is a list of learning theories that are relevant to game-based learning. In Chapter Two, each one is briefly described and it's connection to GBL is outlined.

This section will briefly explain each of the theories in the figure, and outline how it connects to DGBL. Let's first look at the major categories and how they differ. Behaviorism and humanism can in some sense be seen as representing opposite ends of a spectrum or as opposing sides of a coin. Behaviorist theories are primarily theories of external motivation that comes in the form of reward and punishment. By contrast, humanism is a paradigm of learning that centers on self-actualization and takes a more holistic approach.

In between we have cognitivism, which is based on attempts to understand how we learn rather than why and posits theories based on such things as how we process information and how we make meaning of our world. Included in this category are such concepts as schemata (mental models), and cognitive load theory. These concepts also play a role in DGBL.

Also between behaviorism and humanism are social learning and constructivism. Constructivism is described as the process by which the learner constructs knowledge and meaning through the interaction of their ideas and their experience. It is considered to be a more indirect approach than one that involves simply telling the learners what they need to know, and it is the approach favored in many descriptions of what's needed to develop 21-century learners. The kind of learning that occurs in most games (drill and quiz games excepted) is almost always constructive, at least in part. Social learning highlights the fundamental role that communities and other people play in the learning process. It could be argued that the social learning really encompasses aspects of both cognitivism and constructivism, only enacted in a social context.

If you want to read about how each of these learning theories relates to game-based learning, you'll have to buy the book. :-)


  • bookblog/dgbl_learning_theories.txt
  • Last modified: 2015/05/18 18:32
  • by becker