Video games could help learning

Video games could help learning

Video gaming could help children learn by stimulating the reward system in their brains, researchers will tell an education conference in Melbourne this week.

University of Bristol academic Paul Howard-Jones will discuss brain research that has found students prefer lessons that provide uncertain rewards.

Speaking ahead of the conference, he said studies of adults had also shown that uncertainty about when they would receive a reward heightened their emotional response to learning.

"These concepts may have considerable value in developing educational software," he said.

Experts in neuroscience, psychology and education have gathered for the conference, which has the theme of how the brain learns. It is organised by the Australian Council for Educational Research.

Sydney Catholic Schools director Dan White will explain research that shows why the brain focuses on self-protection instead of learning when faced with emotional stress, which can lead to students misbehaving.

"While most teachers are aware of how the emotional state of a student can have a positive or negative influence on learning, brain-based learning theory both validates and explains this insight," he said.