Trying to Make A Successful Learning Game?

Can video games be successful vehicles for learning? Over the years many companies have tried to create video games that not only entertain, but also deliver some learning value. Very few of these products have succeeded in being fun to play as well as helped achieve their desired learning goals. Many “edutainment” product fail in the consumer marketplace as well as in the classroom. However, a very small number of such games reach some level of critical success in both of these domains. Why is it that few succeed where many fail? What should developers of such products be doing to increase their chances of success? What assumptions made along the way are incorrect?

Over the last year I’ve worked on a presentation to suggest a few of the difficulties in creating effective learning games. The video included below is of a presentation I delivered this past November at the annual Dust or Magic Children’s New Media Design conference, though some version of it has appeared in a number of other presentations I shared with others in 2008. After taking a look, let me know your thoughts; What is important to think about when developing video games with learning in mind? What products do you think achieve success in this area? Which ones miss the mark completely? Where do you look for inspiration? Enjoy.

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