May 15, 2021

Video Games and Theories of Learning: Spotlight on JP Gee and Howard Gardner

Many people at all stages of their lives are addicted to video games. The game can be long, challenging and exciting, but players find it fun and inspiring. It is hard not to recognize that games have social and cultural significance in our society. According to J. P.G. (2003), there are principles of learning (LP) that are embedded in good video games. But these principles do not necessarily stimulate learning. To learn how to play games and eventually develop intelligence in the semiotic realm of everyday life, several factors are needed. Gee learns that thirty-six principles of learning can be found and developed in games.

To explain this, Gee defines games as a semiotic area (SD), which in turn is part of a wider SD of everyday life. So to speak, SD is a special department of the world (whether it is a place, practice, field of study, etc.) and can include subfields. First- and third-person shooters, for example, are a well-defined subdomin of SD games. By introducing the SD concept into game research, Gee gives us SD examples such as rap, modernist paintings and first-person shooters. Gee believes that studying SD requires three things: 1) learning to learn the world in different ways, 2) learning to communicate with SD participants and 3) learning to acquire the resources needed for SD. Future training and problem-solving on the ground, but also in related areas. As we can see, Gee is trying to approach games with a broader definition of literacy that includes different types of “visual literacy.” According to this concept of literacy, people are literate in a particular area only if they can recognize and reproduce values in this area. In addition, Gee suggests that literacy is seen as inextricably linked to social practice. In fact, in modern culture, articulated language (conversational, signed or written) is not the only important communication system. Today, images, symbols, graphs, diagrams, equations, artifacts and many other visual symbols play a particularly important role in our daily lives. For example, it is important to learn visual literacy in order to “read” images in advertising.

Given the different forms of human activity in the complex society in which we live, it becomes necessary to develop a new model of intelligence that will allow us to adopt a pluralistic view of intelligence. The influential definition of Howard Gardner’s intelligence (1983) was based on a model of seven major intelligence types known as Multiple Intelligence Theory (MI). MI is a broader and more pragmatic view of human nature. Eight types of intelligence are defined as the following skills:
1) use language competently (linguistically)
2) to use logical reasoning in mathematics and science (logic-mathematics),
3) perceive the details of the visual-spatial world and manipulate objects in the head (spatial),
4) Understand, create and enjoy music and musical concepts (musical)
5) use the body professionally (physical-kinesthetic);
6) Recognize subtle aspects of other people’s behavior and react accordingly (interpersonally),
7) to understand your own feelings (intrapersonal), and
8) recognize patterns and differences in nature (naturalist).

These categories or intellect are elements that can be found in all cultures, namely music, words, logic, paintings, social interaction, physical expression, inner reflection and appreciation of nature. Thus, unlike the learning style, which is a general approach that a person can equally apply to any conceivable content, Gardner’s intelligence is a skill with its own processes adapted to specific content in the world (e.g. musical sounds or spatial samples).

From this point of view, Gee (2003) and Gardner (1983) evaluate the interaction between learning and the skills present in the daily life (culture) of people. So when we think about the SD approach developed by Gee, we realize that the interaction between the two theories, the SD of everyday life, the wider existing whole, which is inhabited by sentient beings, covers SD games. Note that Gardner points out that one of the goals of his efforts is to explore the educational implications of the theory of multiple intelligence.

Gee describes the thirty-six learning principles that can be found in games. It should be noted that not all the principles of training listed by the author are necessarily present in the game – it is possible that the game conveys one or more of these principles. The analysis shows that in order to develop one or more mental abilities, the student must be immersed in one or more semiotic areas that represent the conditions and qualities necessary to facilitate their development. For example, for a student of sports modality it makes no sense to have access to only one modality for the full development of his physical and kinesthetic intelligence, he should have access to different sports, namely different subdomenas. part of a broader semiotic area of sport. In addition, there are other external and internal factors (motivation, injury, appropriate training material, etc.) that are important for success in this area in general, such as in sports form. Examples of various outstanding athletes demonstrate this fact: Formula One drivers, MMA fighters and Olympic athletes. In this sense, our research shows the existence of an unprecedented pair: without the principles of learning there is no good games, whereas without an assessment of the field of semiotic area of daily life in this area there is no way forward. Thus, multiple intelligence cannot be fully developed in certain cultural contexts, and the principles of learning have no value in these contexts.

In addition, interpersonal intelligence is very important in learning. We found that this applies to thirty-six principles of learning. Interpersonal intelligence clearly stems from collaboration, community engagement, modeling of large groups, commitment to social issues, etc. Therefore, we believe that the results of comparing these theories call into question the way in which we design and manage education in its various fields.

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