Video games and learning

In Discover (via Kelly Creighton), Steven Johnson, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Feedcovers the positive effects of video games on learning. Essentially, they operate on the "competence principle"; that is, they bring learners to the higher edge of their competence and challenge them (rather than the lower edge and boring them). In addition, there's instant feedback on their performance. According to the article, video game players "see the world more clearly" and are "consistently more social, more confident, and more comfortable solving problems creatively."

This edge of competence reminds me of the edge of chaos, where complex systems arise out of chaos or restructure via a phase transition. And the notion of challenge fits in well with the motivational theories of Deci & Ryan and Lepper & Malone (see July 14, 2005 entry). Apparently, we're seeing a cross-domain phenomenon that complexity theory will be well suited for unifying. I wonder how that can further our understanding of learning theory and pedagogy.