Kurt Squire, Video Games in Education, http://edtechlife.com/?p=1264
Video games offer several characteristics of effective educational programs. “Given the pervasive influence of video games on American culture, many educators have taken an interest in what the effects these games have on players, and how some of the motivating aspects of video games might be harnessed to facilitate learning.” Game players control their actions, pursue their own goals, challenge themselves to the optimal extent of their abilities, and receive feedback on their performance. [E]ducators could use video games as a model for improving learning environments, by providing clear goals, challenging students, allowing for collaboration, using criterion based assessments, giving students more control over the learning process, and incorporating novelty into the environment. . . . [E]ducational approaches such as problem-based learning environments, case based reasoning, learning through participation in communities of practice (i.e. apprenticeships), or inquiry-based learning all place learners in active roles, pursuing goals meaningful to them.
Advances in assessment, such as peer-based assessment or performance-based assessment provide learners multiple sources of feedback based on their performance in authentic contexts. Gaming can be an especially effective educational tool for adult learners. The biggest user of games as training tools is the United States Army, which uses video games as an alternative to mock combats. They gauge hand-eye coordination and simulate combat in flight or on the ground.