Children are at the heart of Can't Wait to Learn
Co-creation: children shape their learning environment
A unique feature of Can’t Wait to Learn is that the serious educational games are developed through a process of meaningful co-creation with the children concerned. Children's stories and drawings provide input for game designers to create initial sketches. These sketches are then presented to children for further feedback - before they are translated into the design of the games. This means that in each country all game content reflects the specific local context.
Relevant game design and storylines are particularly important and serve to lower the threshold at which children feel comfortable to engage with the games - particularly if they are unfamiliar with technology. This allows children to become immersed in a world that reflects their reality - and focus right away. Research has shown that this facilitates effective learning and boosts children’s motivation.
Effective education through serious gaming
Can’t Wait to Learn offers two distinct learning games - one for mathematics and one for reading. Both games have been designed as single-player games within a wider game world. In both games, children can decide whether they want to watch an instructional video, check their progress, or play a mini-game.
Both games provide several levels of instruction and pedagogy. The first level of instruction is the game world - this provides the connecting narratives for the second level of separate mini-games (games within games that provide educational tasks).
The game world asks the participant to help characters achieve goals in their lives, such as becoming a goat herder or a doctor. Most of these jobs are familiar to target communities - positions such as a cook, tractor-owner or brick-maker. Others are less familiar - positions such as a teacher, doctor or engineer. In a playful way, this helps the children to broaden their perspectives.
The second level of separate mini-games has a different pedagogy - one that provides direct feedback on performance and reduced control over the game world. Each mini-game addresses a specific mathematical or reading concept. Some mini-games have variations that can be used to introduce concepts of both mathematics and reading - and all learning concepts can be practised within several mini-games.
Photo: War Child
Children learn at their own pace
This structure supports children to understand key learning concepts while retaining their motivation and engagement. Progress through the game is linked to performance - the number of correct answers within a certain time-frame determines whether children can continue to a more difficult mathematical or reading concept. This ensures that players always work at their own level and pace.
Can’t Wait to Learn games are flexible in terms of schedule - which allows students to perform household tasks when their caregivers and families require help. They can follow an individual learning path, skipping a few days whenever household tasks prevent them from joining learning sessions before resuming their learning journey.
Each child has their own log-in code to monitor individual performance and ensure learning goals are being met. Teachers and facilitators - who are trained to support the classroom use of Can’t Wait to Learn - can prepare children to reach specific learning levels and provide feedback and support based on their performance data.
Read more about Can’t Wait to Learn’s design and approach to Digital Game-Based Learning.