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Dr. Kimberly Voll on Gaming and Higher Education

Apr 17, 2013 By Crissy Campbell

Last week, CDM faculty Kimberly Voll presented at Western Washington University on The Confluence of Gaming and Higher Education.

In her talk, Voll addresses why games matter and how game dynamics can, and should, be used in the classroom. 

Voll argues that games are one of the most powerful forms of media at our disposal. She says that games connect us like no other media: in games we play and all humans learn via play. Next to survival, fun is the most basic human motivator. No one doesn't like having fun.

According to Voll, well-designed games:

  • Pace learning
  • Mitigate cognitive load
  • Inspire and incentivize

Voll continues on to say that in the brain new experiences are disruptive, which is why we chunk information. If no new patterns are there to absorb we get bored. As educators there is a constant tension between not wanting to overwhelm and wanting to keep students engaged, which is where games can help: well-designed games are good at both breaking down complex information and at keeping students interested.

"The best games teach everything they have to offer before the player stops playing.” 

It’s a fascinating talk. Watch it here:

Kim Voll Video on Gaming and Education

Note: The sound cuts out within the first minute for a few seconds.


Dr. Kimberly Voll is a full-time faculty member at the Centre for Digital Media and teaches Foundations of Game Design as part of the Master of Digital Media program.