Clark Aldrich at The Learning Circuits Blog comments that Computer Games and Classrooms already share one limiting feature, namely that they are both self-referential.
People, such as myself, are advocating a time when classrooms borrow more lessons from computer games. But they already share one, not-so-great similarity. They are both self-referential.
Doing well within the world of a computer game, be it buying the biggest house or uniting the world, is in itself victory. There is no need to transfer that to the outside world before getting the accolades. And you are not directly better prepared to actually buy a bigger house, or unite the world, for having played the game.
Similarly, most classrooms are self-referential. Getting the ‘A’ does not mean that you were successful outside the classroom, just inside.
Now in both cases, there may be correlations. The ‘A’ student and great gamer might be better able to get and perform complex jobs. And in the case of the ‘A’ students, they can stay in the self-referential academic world indefinitely, eventually getting tenure. But there is also the opportunity to ‘game’ the systems, building skills sets that actually hurt the opportunity for success outside the enclosed environments.
He points to some additional sources about games, especially Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.