Stealth learning

15 May, 2020

The internet has come alive with content supposedly designed to make home education a cinch. The reality is different. Even if the quality is good, keeping kids engaged can be challenging. Luckily, the strategies of behaviour change provide an answer: reduce friction by having them learn through formats and platforms they already love. We call it stealth learning.  

Minecraft is one of the best-selling video games of all time. Even in its basic form its building and social mechanics can be educational, but the Lumen Power Challenge, an add-on for 9-15 year olds created by EIT InnoEnergy, goes further. The module allows players to explore different energy sources to power their city, teaching them about renewables in the process. If your kids love Minecraft, it is an easy win. 

There are other sustainability-themed games that should pass your children’s fun test while teaching them on the sly. World Rescue, partly funded by UNESCO, is overtly about the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but its great visuals and globetrotting story driven by ‘young global citizens’ makes it a lot more compelling than you might expect. More complex and fascinating is Eco, an online world in which, just like ours, every action has an environmental consequence. Interactions with the realistically simulated ecosystem and the player-run government dictate how resilient your civilisation is to a looming meteor strike. Teaching never felt so immersive. 

By Ben Wood

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