Why gamers don’t learn more: An ecological approach to games as learning environments | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1757-191X
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1928


This article explores the argument that video games by their nature are good learning environments. By applying the ecological approach to perception and learning to gameplay, the article describes gaming as a perception–action cycle, i.e., an interplay between seeing and using affordances. This notion of how gameplay functions is then used in order to discuss different design features in games, and it is claimed that games can be designed so that players are able to discover and utilize affordances without always having to develop skills and knowledge. Compared to many other practices, gaming can be less demanding and not as complex, since progress can be built into the game system. Previous literature has suggested that the principles for learning that can be found in games could potentially inform educational practices. This article claims that progression in games does not necessarily imply learning, and that the unique ways in which game design facilitates progression might be rather unsuitable principles for learning.


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