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When the average parent or guardian thinks about video games, their thoughts often drift to wasted time in front of a screen. Very seldom do video games and education get paired in the same sentence. The video gaming industry is vast and ever-growing with 91% of teens playing on a semi-daily basis. With such a wide player pool, leveraging their interest in gaming to implement more effective learning experiences could be the answer to record-low engagement and achievement rates. Learning-based games continue to grow in popularity as parents and educators alike try to find a way to reach teens. The new frontier of online learning games has a lot of people asking the question, can online learning games improve student engagement and achievement, or are they just a trendy gimmick that distracts students from their real school work?

The Myth of Distraction

For many families, gaming has served as a point of contention. Teens are far more likely to sit down in front of the television or computer to play a game than they are to complete their studies or chores around the house. For parents who did not grow up with easily accessible games, this love for video games can seem like an unhealthy obsession that causes your teen to make poor choices about their studies. It may seem like adding more games to your teen’s free time can cause an added distraction from all of the work that is important for their future. 

When utilizing online learning games to supplement and aid a teen’s studies, it may seem like the added element of play could distract a student from learning the material and skills that are covered within the game. It can be argued that a student is in no mental state to learn when they are playing games because they are distracted by playing the actual game. 

All of these claims are oversimplifications of what happens when a teen plays a video game. Although they may seem distracted while playing games, they are actively solving problems and practicing applicable skills. Think of it this way, if a teen uses video games to distract themselves from their school work regularly, what happens when we combine their distraction with the task that they need to focus on?

The Value of Engagement

In the field of education, one of the most important elements of a learner’s studies is engagement. Engagement measures how involved a learner is with the material, skills, and environment of the learning experience. Online learning games utilize learner interest in a familiar format to both deepen and lengthen the learning experience. 

Online learning games take advantage of learning through play to help learners study more content more memorably. Studies show that when they can interact and play with learning materials, they form deeper connections to the skills and content being covered. Much like a Montessori or early childhood classroom, utilizing play is the best way for learners to form long-lasting neural pathways that will help them internalize information and use it practically.

Learning games put play at the forefront. They pair necessary learning materials with engaging gameplay that can help teens lengthen the amount of time they spend studying. Teens have a high endurance built for things that they love to do. Whether this is playing sports, watching their favorite television shows, or playing video games, teens are way more willing to spend time doing the things that they enjoy. Online learning games take an enjoyable activity and pair it with a learning objective so that teens can utilize their endurance to spend more time studying and improving. 

Online learning games pair studies with fun. When teens are having fun and solving problems in an online learning game, they are far more likely to have a positive outlook on their studies. Teens learn when they are having fun. Using online learning games is a great way to add a bit of fun to your teen’s studies so that they can improve their outlook on school and their self-esteem.

Online learning games allow your teen to take an active step in the learning process. In addition to being exposed to the content that they need to study, games allow teens to apply that content and skills to a real-time problem that needs to be solved. Unlike traditional study that lacks the ability for genuine skill application, online learning games allow your teen to practice applying what they learn as they play. This additional set of applications is what makes online learning games so valuable in your teen’s studies.

The Bottom Line: Can Online Learning games help your teen’s studies?

When all is said and done and both sides are weighed, it becomes clear that online learning games are a valuable way to attract your teen to put extra time into their studies. Online learning games pair valuable educational content with fun games that allow students to stay engaged with the material that they need to study. 

Online learning games are one of the best ways to increase your teen’s engagement with their studies. The fun learning experiences utilize your teen’s interests to tap into their natural ability to learn through play. Gaming not only convinces teens to spend more time on their studies but also deepens learning experiences by creating lasting neural pathways that will help with both understanding and memory.

Adding online learning games to your teen’s studies is a sure way to help improve their success. Online learning games allow them to do the activity that they enjoy while also spending extra time on their studies. It also gives you peace of mind that your teen is spending their time playing games that will benefit them in the future. If you want to put a high-interest addition into your teen’s study routine, online learning games are a must.