Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Tag Archives: Kristan Wheaton

Wheaton: The 5 Myths of Game-based Learning

Kris Wheaton at Mercyhurst College writes the Sources and Methods blog, an excellent resource on all things related to intelligence analysis and the teaching of intelligence analysis. In his latest post, he kicks off a series on the 5 myths of game-based learning, based on a recent presentation at the annual conference of the American Union of University Professors.

Let me start this series of posts by saying – unequivocally – I am a strong advocate of game-based learning.  It has worked for me personally, I have seen it work in the classroom and have read the research that, in general, suggests that game-based approaches can provide powerful new ways to learn.


As someone who has spent the last three years applying at least some of the theory of game-based learning in the classroom, I can tell you that it is…well…tricky.

Don’t get me wrong.  My intent is not to lead you on and then ultimately come to the conclusion that it can’t be done or that it doesn’t work or, even, that it is hard to do.  It is just trickier than I expected due, I think, to the “myths” that have sprung up about games and learning.  My hope is that this series of posts will help other teachers (particularly other university professors teaching intelligence studies…) to have a more realistic view of both the difficulties and the rewards of incorporating games into their classes.

Where did these myths come from?  I believe that they are a natural consequence of the inevitable distance between theory and practice.  Any practitioner will tell you that theory only works well…in theory.  Actually applying a pedagogical approach to a real world classroom with real world constraints and challenges is another thing entirely….

You’ll need to check back to his blog regularly to get the full series.

Picture above: Another sort of gaming Myth (and a very good game it was too).

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