Games and “Adult Learning Styles”

Games and adult learning styles

Yes, playful adult learning styles! No, we’re not talking about the Hooters here! I’ve stumbled upon on this gem article on game-based learning and adult learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) the other day. Let’s put aside the issue that matching someone’s “learning style” with that of the same teaching style does not produce more effective learning outcomes. Just google “learning styles debunked,” or visit the

Update: Jane Bozarth from the eLearning Guild has just posted a comprehensive review on learning styles.

Let’s just try to interpret the suggestions this article provides us to use learning styles and game-based learning together:

“Examples Of Bringing Game-Based Learning And Adult Learning Styles Together”

Definition — Wrong

“Game-based learning is the idea of taking a game format, like quests, rewards, badges, and working until success is achieved, and applying them to non-game contents, like classroom learning or office tasks.” — No, this is not game-based learning. Game-based learning is learning through playing an actual game. This description “resembles” more to the definition of gamification.

1. Visual Learners

A physical representation of the tasks that need to be completed. — I guess this is a checklist? Or quests?

A list or infographic. — A list of them? Why would a visual learner need a list of infographics in a game?

A physical representation of tasks as they’re completed and progress is made. — How is this different from the first one? Oh, the tasks are now completed. Wouldn’t we use the previous checklist?

A checklist or a graph that’s colored in as items are finished. — Checklist again. Or coloring a graph? Love the game mechanics.

Summary for visuals: Let’s see! If you are a visual learner playing a game, you need a checklist (or a colorful graph.)

2. Auditory Learners

Tasks are explained out loud and in a handout or email form. — Huh? How do you explain out loud a task in a handout or in an email form? What’s an email form, anyway? And how do you play this game?

A briefing of the tasks to complete. — I guess this is a talking checklist? Or sending them to quests? That might work.

As tasks are completed there’s a briefing about what’s been completed and what tasks remain. — So, we brief them before and after? Hmm… 

A weekly meeting to summarize progress. — Oh, my… A weekly meeting in a game-based learning to summarize progress? I’m going to implement this tomorrow with my team.

Reminders of task progress are presented daily with a notification either through email, calendar, and physically. — Again, these pesky reminders! And how does an email or calendar entry appeal to auditory learners? Oh, I know the DING sound! You’ve got mail!

Summary for auditory learners: Hey, listen! Let’s make some noise!!

Kinesthetic Learners

A physical representation of the tasks that need to be completed and a timeline. — And what’s kinesthetic about this? Isn’t the visuals getting the same thing? Oh, maybe it’s 3D printed to play with.

An inbox/outbox format for moving tasks through the timeline, like progress in a quest. — I knew the quest is coming! What would be the core loop? Inbox -> Outbox. Like Frogger!! Remember? Trying to cross the street? From inbox to outbox.

Progress is displayed visually with the ability to manipulate the progress marker. — Why would you want me to manipulate the progress marker? Hmm.. These people are hands-on, doing learners. This is where it dawned on me. Let’s check Etsy where hands-on folks thrive!

I learn something every day! There are such things as progress markers!

Summary for kinesthetic learners: let’s make progress markers!!

Conclusion Marker

Again, aside from the fact that “adult learning styles” might not work at all, where is the GAME here? Who the frog knows. Anyway, one thing I do agree with in the article, is the author’s closing statement:

Share the knowledge, and inspire others. 

Please do!


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