Games and Tangential Learning

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.”
– Winston Churchill

You might have noticed in our About page, we’re big fans of the idea that gaming can be one of the best ways to learn. I recently ran across Daniel Floyd’s video (embedded below) discussing video games as tangential learning. (This was based on a blog post by James Portnow, by the by.)

The idea is pretty simple: people like to learn when it facilitates something they’re already engaged in. Arithmetic is boring, but it pays to keep all your circumstantial bonuses in your head straight. I personally hated history class, but I spend hours researching ancient myths and cultures to plan the next D&D adventure. Even accounting can be interesting thanks to German board games.

It extends to social and emotional levels, too. Basically all our games require at least one other player, usually more. A lot of them involve cooperation and strategy, not to mention learning to cope with failure and success. Games with roleplaying allow players to try on personalities without risk and better understand and shape themselves.

We’re trying to put together some handy information for parents and educators in particular to help explain the benefits of gaming, and you can help. If you know an article containing or referencing genuine research on the benefits of gaming, put it in the comments. It’d be awesome if it’s specifically about tabletop gaming, but video game research will do since it’s much more prevalent.

What are your thoughts on games as learning? How have games benefited you?

Here’s Daniel Floyd’s video on tangential learning:


2 responses to “Games and Tangential Learning”

  1. Jaclyn Duhe says:

    THANK YOU! As a teacher who also sponsors a club for those of the geek persuasion, it is always nice to see/hear/read about the benefits of gaming. So often, we only hear about the negative side in education, that we forget how easily we learned from games as children.

    • Jeremy says:

      Thanks for fighting the good fight, Jaclyn. We’re very interested in supporting educators and schools through games. We’d love to hear any ideas you might have on ways we can help.