Report – Play to Learn or Learn to Play?

Posted on: Monday 10 July 2017 11:52am by Tyler McRae

The full session is available here as a podcast:

Emma Cooper led the open talk on the educational side of gaming and what this can do for the future of education.


  • There is a demand for quality educational games
  • Government needs to invest more in other creative ways of learning
  • Newer technologies can lead to greater exposure for educational gaming


Ever since the closing of BBC Jam, the independent side of the e-learning industry had lost money and confidence in gaming with educational purposes. With new developments being made to help bridge the gap, is this helping to rekindle a student’s love of learning with a love of gaming.

It is now a crowded market for casual games, so much so that modern e-games don’t follow typical gaming mechanics. These games don’t give you feedback and there’s no form of levelling up. However, the focus is on encouraging players to not give up and carry on after failure, building confidence at the same time.

Emilia McKenzie spoke about games developed by museums that enhance learning and facilitate engagement with museum collections. The best STEM games incorporate science concepts within the game play so that users develop their understanding through interacting, and need to demonstrate their understanding in order to succeed. Her future projects at The Science Museum include an ‘object hunt’ game for mobile to promote exploration of the Museum’s collection and encourage social interaction in the gallery spaces.

Dan Tucker touched on the possibilities of VR in educational gaming. The use of interactive narratives and immersive technology can lead to a deeper learning experience for a student. With formats such as choose-your-own-adventure games that mix interactive drama with decision-making, this teaches children that even small actions have consequences. Communal VR is a possibility in the future, which could be introduced into classrooms, creating honest and enlightening discussions if facilitated well.

As much as there are these developments in gaming technology, it will always come down to education at the core –  if the same information can be taught through another means that costs less money, educational experimentation will remain stagnant. This attitude needs to change.

CMC 2017 Blog Event Reports BBC classroom digital e-games educational games learning online VR

Tyler McRae

About the author

Tyler McRae

CMC Blogger

Tyler is a soon-to-be graduate student of Sheffield Hallam, currently working an internship at the local independent cinema, The Showroom. He has been entrenched in the blogging world for just over two years, having started his own film and TV review blog: stayhumblestayhungryblog. He aims to apply hi Film and… Read more