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Six Ways Video Games Support Classroom Learning

Online master’s in education candidates learn the benefits of game play.

After retiring from the Supreme Court in 2006, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor began working on her next act of public service: delivering free, nonpartisan civics lessons to schools in all 50 states. Her platform? Video games.

Since its launch in 2009, iCivics has grown into the biggest source of civics curriculum in the U.S.,1 with 18 games including Executive Command, where students select a presidential avatar, choose an agenda for their State of the Union address, and navigate through the chief executive’s major duties. In 2017, 5.25 million students played one or more of the iCivics games.2

Six Ways Video Games Support Classroom Learning

When surveyed, the teachers who use iCivics video game lessons say their students “are demonstrably more engaged … and more knowledgeable about how our government works,”1 adding to the growing body of reports that show using video games in classrooms can expand knowledge, increase engagement, and enhance problem-solving skills.

Today, teachers who pursue a master’s in education online can learn how to incorporate video games and other digital learning tools into their teaching strategies. In Walden University’s online MSEd degree course New and Emerging Technologies, education professionals consider the future of teaching and learning, discover promising trends in technology, and investigate opportunities to become leaders in the field of technology and learning. In “Transfer of Learning from Video Game Play to the Classroom,” a chapter from the book Learning by Playing: Video Gaming in Education, authors Debra A. Lieberman, Erica Biely, Chan L. Thai, and Susana Peinado share insights into how game play promotes classroom learning.

“Game challenges motivate learning because players want to develop the knowledge and skills needed to win, and so it is typical for players to rehearse essential game skills avidly and repeatedly until they have mastered them and won the game,” the authors write.3

Here are six of their takeaways about how video games support classroom learning: 3

  • Video games provide unlimited chances to rehearse skills and receive interactive intelligent feedback based on many previous actions, not just the most recent action.
  • Player control over the choices and actions in a game can promote self-regulated learning.
  • Video games require interactive problem-solving.
  • Video games are highly interactive environments that support processes of experiential learning, learning by doing, constructivist learning, problem-based learning, and authentic problem-solving. 
  • Video games can offer help, hints, coaching, and scaffolding to support learning.
  • Games can deliver dynamic assessment, where feedback is not an end state but an opportunity to reflect on and learn from errors, receive specific and individualized help and coaching, and try again until successful.  

“Games foster learning and cognitive skill development in many other ways,” the authors write. “For instance, players may use persistence, risk-taking, problem-solving, mindfulness, or attention to detail in order to win.”

How Can I Learn More About Teaching With Technology?

As the digital expansion into education continues, school principals say they need more tech training for teachers.4 An MS in Education with an Integrating Technology in the Classroom (Grades K–12) specialization offers the 21st-century knowledge, strategies, and skills you need to create an effective and motivational learning environment.

This timely specialization, based on the standards of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), encourages you to employ various technologies that engage and motivate all learners. This master’s in education online puts the emphasis on practical strategies such as creating learner-centered classrooms using the latest digital technologies and incorporating computer-mediated instruction across grade levels and content areas.

And through Walden’s accelerated MSEd model, you can complete the program in as little as one year. With this cutting-edge teaching degree delivered through Walden’s flexible online learning platform, you’ll be ready to use video games, apps, and other digital innovations to engage your students and lead them to success. Level up your career with a move into the future of education.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online MS in Education degree program with 17 specializations. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,