Game-based learning means to me that learning can be more than work. Kids relate to games more, but adults can also learn from the game-based approach. When a unit of curriculum is given in pieces, and those pieces can be chosen by students, it feels more like a game! Having choice and autonomy actually increases engagement and fun, which feels like a game. Add in points, ranks, achievements, and rewards ... it makes everything feel like a game without sacrificing the learning. That is if it's done properly.
There are some key differences to Minecraft and Minecraft Edu:
At first, I felt a bit biased thinking I wouldn't see an educational benefit to Minecraft either. Then I did some research. I began to see the benefits to problem-solving, collaborative play, and creative design. I also learned of several ways educational topics are being explored through Minecraft Edu. A particularly great game I saw would fit perfectly into my fourth grade Idaho History Unit: The Oregon Trail. After watching the videos online, and exploring more, there is absolutely an educational gain from the content, and it can be presented to students in a way they love! Win-win!