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Why gamers donʼt learn more: An ecological approach to games as learning environments

Journal article
Authors Jonas Linderoth
Published in Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 45-61
ISSN 1757-191X
Publication year 2012
Published at The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS)
Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Pages 45-61
Language en
Keywords Video games, computer games, learning, ecological psychology, affordance.
Subject categories Psychology, Pedagogy


This article explores the argument that video games by their nature are good learning environments. By applying the ecological approach to perception and learning on gameplay, the article describes gaming as a perception – action cycle, i.e., an interplay between seeing and using affordances. This notion of how game play functions is then used in order to discuss different design features in games, and it is claimed that games can be designed so that players are able to discover and utilize affordances without always having to develop skills and knowledge. Compared to many other practices, gaming can be less demanding and not as complex since progress can be built into the game system. Previous literature have suggested that principles for learning that can be found in games potentially could inform educational practices. This article claims that progression in games does not necessarily imply learning and that the unique ways in which game design facilitate progression might are rather unsuitable principles for learning.

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