May 17

Teaching and learning with games reflection 5.2

Virtual reality and immersive simulations

Imagine the perfect field trip where students are free to wander and explore. How good would learning be if they could be immersed in that environment, see feel and explore whatever interests them. That is what the virtual reality immersive learning simulation offers. This is immersive learning at its best. It is almost better than the real thing because once students find an item of interest, they click on it and it is then further hyperlinked to subject knowledge and more information. The positive of this pedagogical approach is the freedom which the learner experiences in being able to navigate down any path of interest. Curiosity is encouraged. An engaging opportunity for education.

What happens when you add learning content to an intrinsically motivating game?


One common criticism of the use of games in education is that they offer only extrinsic motivation because they revolve around reward systems.

The idea of intrinsic integration seems to go to the next level and recommend that games can be more effective if the learning content is added to an instrinsically motivating game.

The advantages of this type of game play is that by not separating the game play experience form the learning material and by playing a game which embodies it, players are more likely to be be engaged for longer and motivated to continue. The concept of creating flow  (as proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi) in the learning experience makes perfect sense and according to the research, intrinsic integration gives rise to flow and as a result,  learning potential increases when students show more, “persistence, more focused attention, increased arousal, increased affect” (Hapgood & Ainsworth, 2013).

The instrinsic integrated game works well because students will see the challenge as real and authentic, the game and the content are integrated in a one context and neither appear as add ons. Students are aware of chocolate covered broccoli, they can smell broccoli a mile away. So if the game is not just a sweetner for doing the hard work, it gains more meaning and will be more attractive.


Habgood, M. P. J., & Ainsworth, S. E. (2011). Motivating children to learn effectively: Exploring the value of intrinsic integration in educational games. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20(2), 169–206.

Posted May 17, 2016 by moraig in category INF541

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