How Playing Games Useful in Adult Learning

 ?How Playing Games Useful in Adult Learning

 .There is a secret in teaching and learning world

What is taught is not what is learnt

. In all learning process, learners are at the center point
. Learning take place exclusively through independent acquisition of the learner

.There is a theory that shows playing games is a very good method in adult learning

Constructivism is a theory of knowledge (epistemology) that argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning from an interaction between their experiences and their ideas. In past centuries constructivist ideas were not widely valued due to the  perception that children’s play was seen as aimless and of little importance. Jean Piaget saw play as an important and necessary part of student’s cognitive development and provided scientific evidences for his views

Knowledge is internalized by learners

.Individuals construct new knowledge from their experiences

When individuals assimilate, they incorporate the new experience into an already existing  framework without changing that framework. This may occur when individuals’ experiences are aligned with their internal representations of the world, but may also occur as a failure to change a faulty understanding. Mechanism by which failure leads to learning: Matching new experiences and reframing our model of way the world works, we  learn about our experience of failure or others failure. Constructivism as a theory describing how learning happens shows Learners construct knowledge out of their experiences. (active learning or learning by doing)

 Learner as a unique individual

Social constructivism views each learner as a unique individual with unique needs and  backgrounds. The learner also seen as complex and multidimensional entity. Wertsch said social constructivism not only acknowledges the uniqueness a complexity of the learner, but actually encourages utility and rewards it as an integral part of the learning process 

The importance of background and culture of the learner

Social constructivism encourages the learner to find his or her version of the truth, influenced by his or her background and culture. Historical developments and symbol systems, such as language, logic and mathematical systems are inherited by the learners as a member of a particular culture and these are learned throughout the learners life

Young children develop their thinking abilities by interacting with other children, adults and physical world. From the social constructivism viewpoint, it is important to take into account the background and culture of the learners throughout the learning process 

Wertsch mentioned this background also helps to shape the knowledge and  learners create, discover and attain the truth in the learning process 

Learner's responsibility

Glasersfield argued that the responsibility of learning should reside increasingly with the learner. Social constructivism emphasizes the importance of  the learners being actively involved in the learning process, unlike previous educational viewpoints where the responsibility rested with the instructor to teach and where the learner played a passive receptive role. Learners look for meaning and will try to find regularity and order in the events of the world even in the absence of full or complete information. Sustaining motivation to learn is strongly dependent on the learners confidence in his or her potential for learning

Instructors as facilitators, not teachers

Whereas a teacher gives a didactic lecture that covers the subject matter, a facilitator helps the learner to get to his or her own understanding of the content to play an active role in the learning process.So in this viewpoint emphasis turns away from the instructor and the content towards the learner. Brownstain said this dramatic change of role implies that a facilitator needs to display a totally different set of skills than a teacher 

A teacher tells, a facilitator asks

A teacher lectures in front of the class, a facilitator  supports learners from behind

A teacher gives answers according to a set curriculum; a facilitatorprovides guidelines and creates the environment for the learner toarrive at his or her own conclusions

 A teacher mostly gives a monologue; a facilitator is in continuousdialogue with the learners

While it is advocated to give the learner ownership of the problem and solution process 

The critical goal is to support the learner to be an effective thinker. Individuals make meanings through the interactions with each other and with the environment they live in


Learning is an active social process

Learning is not a process that only takes place inside our minds, nor it is a passive development of our behaviors that is shaped by external forces and that occurs when individuals are engaged in social activities. The most significant moment in intellectual development occurs when speech and practical activity, two previously completely independent lines of development, converge. Through practical activity, a child constructs meaning on an personal level, while speech connects this meaning with the  interpersonal shared by the child and his/her culture. Holt and Willard mentioned a further characteristic of facilitator role in the social constructivist viewpoint: instructor and  learners are equally involved in learning process and learn from each other as well

This means that the learning experience is both subjective and objective and requires the instructor’s culture, values and background as an essential part of the interplay between learners and tasks in the shaping of meaning. As Kukla said learners compare their version of the truth with the instructor and fellow learners to get to a new, socially tested version of the truth. This creates a dynamic  interaction between task, instructor and learner

 This entails that learners and instructors should develop an awareness of each other’s viewpoints and then look to their own beliefs standards and values, thus this occur in  both subjective and objective level at the same time

Some studies argue for the importance of mentoring in learning process

The social constructivist model thus emphasizes the importance of the relationship between the student and the instructor in the learning process. In some learning approaches, this interactive learning includes reciprocal teaching, peer collaboration, cognitive apprenticeship, problem based instruction, web quests, anchored instruction and other approaches involve learning with others. Learners with different skills and backgrounds should collaborate in tasks and discussions to arrive at a shared understanding of the truth in a specific field

The Importance of context

The social constructivist paradigm based on Mcmahon saying, views the context as the central point of learning process. The concept of dynamic assessment, which is a way of assessing the true potential of learners that differs significantly from conventional tests

So the essentially interactive nature of learning is extended to the process of assessment

It is seen as a two way process involving interaction between both instructor and learner

Assessment and learning are seen as inextricably linked and not separate processes


Knowledge should be discovered as an integrated whole

In this view knowledge should not be divided into different subjects or compartments but should be discovered as an integrated whole. Learners constantly be challenged with tasks that refer to skills and knowledge just beyond their current level of mastery

This captures their motivation and builds on previous successes to enhance learner confidence. The task and learning environment should reflect the complexity of the environment that learners should be able to function in it. Emotions and life contexts of those involved in the learning process must be considered as an integral part of learning

Learner's goal is central in considering what is learned. It is important to achieve the right balance between the level of structuring and flexibility of the learning process. The more structured the learning environment, the harder it is for the learners to construct meaning based on their conceptual understanding

A facilitator should structure the learning experience just enough to make sure that the students get clear guidance and parameters within which to achieve the learning objectives, yet the learning experience should be open and free enough to allow for the learners to discover, enjoy, interact and arrive at their own, socially verified version of truth

Constructivism for adult learners

Adults learn fundamentally different ways than children. Children have fewer experiences, so their brains are able to create new neurological structures when they learn. Adults have previously existing neurological structures due to their vast amount of experience, so new learning for adults requires new connections between already existing neurological structure. There are several processes that are important for working with adult learners: mechanisms for mutual planning, diagnosis of learner needs and interests, cooperative learning climate, sequential activities for achieving the objectives, formulation of learning objectives based on the disguised needs and interests, selection of methods, materials and resources and evaluation of learning. Adult learners should be informed why something is important to learn and be shown how to direct themselves through information. So the topic be presented should be related to the learners experiences. People tend not to learn until they are ready and motivated. In addition, they need help overcoming inhibitions behaviors ad beliefs about learning.Personal relevance of the content, involvement of the learner in the process, the deeper understanding of underlying concepts are some of the intersections between emphasis in constructivism and adult learning principles


Learner are respected as unique individuals

 Learners learn by experimentation and  not by being told about what will happen. They are left to make their own inferences, discoveries and conclusions.It also emphasizes that learning is not an “all or nothing” process but that students learn the new information that is presented to them by building upon knowledge that they already possess. It is therefore important that teachers constantly assess the knowledge their students have gained to make sure that their perceptions of the new knowledge are what the teacher had intended

 In most pedagogies based on constructivism the teacher’s role is not only to observe and assess but to also engage with the students while they are completing activities, wondering aloud and posing question to the students for promotion of reasoning

  All discussed aspects are related to a very useful methodology in adult learning that based on playing games, it is LENA methodology which will be introduced in our next blog


   WIFI Training Materials-

Constructivism: A Theory of Knowledge, Journal of Chemical Knowledge, 2021-

 An epistemological glance at the constructivist approach constructivist learning in ,Dewey, Piaget and Montessori , International Journal of Instruction, 2012 


Fatemeh Shakhsian 


How Playing Games Useful in Adult Learning
Fatemeh Shakhsian ۱۴۰۱/۰۹/۱۴ ۱۸:۱۰:۱۶
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