Games-to-Teach or Games-to-Learn: Addressing the Learning Needs of Twenty-First Century Education Through Performance

  • Yam San CheeEmail author
Part of the Education Innovation Series book series (EDIN)


In this chapter, I describe my observation of the two main approaches to game-based learning evident in research today. The dominant approach is one characterized by games-to-teach. This approach is rooted in cognitive science and instructional theory. It is driven by the goal of meeting the present needs of schooling, as predominantly practiced, and by meeting perceived needs related to schooling: assessing student learning outcomes objectively, improving test scores, increasing student motivation, and deepening learning engagement. While these objectives are legitimate in their own right, they ignore, or at the very least fail to respond to, the increasingly urgent learning needs and lifeworlds of students living in the twenty-first century. By way of contrast, the games-to-learn approach is grounded in sociocultural and hermeneutic approaches to education and based on learning design. Within the context of the latter, I articulate a performance-centric approach to game-based learning that subsumes play and dialog as a model of learning befitting our times.


Games-to-teach Games-to-learn Educating Schooling Performance Play Dialog 



The National Research Foundation, Singapore, provided initial funding for the Statecraft X project through grant number NRF2007–IDM005–MOE–007CYS. Exemplar data is drawn from project OER 2/11CYS funded by the Office of Education Research. The assistance of Swati Mehrotra, Liu Qiang, Shoon Ming Hui, Ong Jing Chuan, and Tien Yuan is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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