Can games really be serious? Absolutely!
‘Serious games’ is a thing. The thing is that they are games and they have a serious intent. In the case of the games on Vocational Training Materials Australia, the intent is educational: to give students the opportunity to learn, review and possibly be assessed against unit/s of competency that they have been studying using familiar game formats.
Monopoly, Concentration and Jeopardy are familiar games to many people and are great structures for serious games. In the process, students practise communications skills of talking/listening/reflecting and considering other people’s perspective and experiences. It’s also about team work, co-operation and sometimes even being politely competitive. Depending on the Unit of competency being used for the game-play, it can also include literacy, numeracy and English language practise.
There are many ways to achieve learning and experiential opportunity around these soft skills but why not combine them with academic learning as well and get the most out of the time students have together and you have with them?