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The Student Gamer Centric Approach to Learning

The Student Gamer Centric Approach to Learning

The Student Gamer Centric Approach to Learning

The Student Gamer Centric Approach to Learning

My colleagues have discussed that one of the biggest changes to education has been the creation of a learner-centric model for teaching.

I find this kind funny as I believed that teaching had always been learner centric.

Aren’t students the main benefactor? Isn’t that why we are all here?

I can only come to that conclusion because I think about learning from a games-based mindset. Games are created for others to interact with, play, and enjoy. They aren’t for the designers.

Is an un-played game still a game? If a class isn’t designed for students, then is it a class?

The leaner centered model

Students from K-12 programs, higher education, vocational schools, community colleges, and corporate development have hopped on this student centered bandwagon.

It’s because a learner-centered model is better for students’ needs.  This format wholly appreciates their experience learning and engaging.

This is in contrast to the “traditional” way of teaching. One that taught discipline, standardization, and conformity. But this way of teaching hasn’t completely gone away. I benefited from it. I still remember how to cite my sources and avoid comma splices.

But the learners of tomorrow can’t rely on just rote memorization alone. They will need additional skills like critical thinking, problem solving, cooperation, creativity, and communication.

And these are all skills that games are well positioned to help with.

Concentrating on games-based learning

But why games for this cause? Aren’t there other methods of teaching students? Of helping them become the professionals, academics and leaders of tomorrow? Of course there are.

Games are merely just one additional tool in the educator’s tool box for helping their students meet their learning outcomes.

But with a games-based learning approach, the instructor must put the student and their learning needs at the center of the activity. It is the basis of this method.

In this learner-specific model, there are no passive receivers of knowledge.  Instead, knowledge is formed experientially.

Though game play, action, initiative, and critically thinking; our student-gamers create knowledge on their own. They form connections, detect patterns, and make inferences that isn’t available to those who students who merely “memorize.” 

Role change

The inclusion of games alone doesn’t make this a learner centered approach.  Students should be active contributors and engagers in their own learning process. That includes steps that haven’t been widely considered. That’s because these have been the traditional domain of the teacher who is tasked with planning lessons, selecting activities, and designing assessments.

Through this model, our teachers transition from being the sole keepers of knowledge. The sole gatekeepers of learning. In higher education this is known as the lecturer at the front of the room, the faculty member at the podium, and the “sage on the stage.”

In a student gamer centric approach all students are collaborators. All students are learners. All students are teachers. And all students have agency in their knowledge creation process.

Because of this distributed process, instructors have evolved to serve a new function. They become guides. Informed individuals to not only answer questions but to guide students to new lines of inquiry and to empower them to discover answers on their own.

Applications and approach

I have used this model in the past with my application of games-based learning in my classroom. A simple game of Ultimate Werewolf became a platform for teaching persuasive speaking. Pandemic became a lesson in asymmetric abilities and cooperation. Magic Maze became a frenzied experiment on rapid collaboration.

But games exist beyond the table as well. Due to the latest technological developments, teachers can also use any variety of digital games to aid in their students’ learning. Such a platform is even more engaging as it can collect data on students’ learning patterns and areas of challenge.

So what is the point of a student gamer centered approach to learning?

This environment provides a lot of space for doing rather than receiving.  In this experiential learning environment there is room for interaction between teachers, students, the environment, and the material.

A student gamer centric approach to learning meets students as a collective society. Rather than as individual vessels to be filled with knowledge.

Through games, students can discover new interests, disciplines, strategies, and ways of thinking. This enables them to develop the necessary skills that will help carry them into a future where such collaboration is necessary for progress.

Dave Eng, EdD
Managing Partner


Bran, L. (2019, March 29). Why learner-centric education plays a crucial role in the development of children. Retrieved April 23, 2019, from