Feedback Loops in Games Based Learning
Feedback is an important part of the learning process. Feedback is also really important for games to be engaging and fun.
Feedback in education is based on providing the student with tangible information that they can use to improve their learning, knowledge grasp, or retention.
Feedback in a game is provided to the player in order to viscerally show them the impact of their actions.
The two can be combined in order to both meet learners’ outcomes as well as provide some interesting and engaging feedback in a games-based learning environment.
Type of Feedback
There are two main types of feedback: positive feedback loops and negative feedback loops. Each one can be used to elicit a certain response from our students and players. Both can be used in balance to shape their experience and steer them towards the learning outcomes and experiences we’ve designed for them.
You can think of positive feedback as a reinforcing relationship. In this relationship, we’ve given the student or player something of value. That item of value can change based on the venue where the feedback is provided.
If it’s a game then we can provide an award for earning a high score. That reward can be some sort of power up that allows the player to achieve an even higher score on the next level. That new high score would allow them to earn a new item etc… This feedback loop continues to reinforce itself.
This is particularly important for learners when it comes to scaffolding. We teach students to create knowledge or master a specific skill or ability. Ideally, we then have them use that knowledge, skill, or ability to tackle an appropriate challenge. That challenge can then be used as a new opportunity to introduce the next skill or ability they will need to know in order to keep progressing.