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Educational Gamification Getting a Big Boost — Is Corporate Training Next?

— by Ian Stewart

Corporate training

Imagine an Angry Birds for teaching sales training. Or a Super Mario Bros. for employee on-boarding. The Sims for sexual harassment compliance training.

(OK, maybe not the last one.)

GameDesk, a Southern California start-up that just cashed a big $3.8 million donation check from AT&T, is making these come to life. Well, sort of. The nonprofit, which started at USC, focuses on “gamifying” education by conceiving of, designing, and producing video games that incorporate academics. Think flight simulators that teach geometry.

The project is aimed mostly toward at-risk high school students, who, GameDesk says, have shown great advances in math skills by using their games. But the trend toward transforming traditionally classroom-bound learning subjects by introducing game elements (points, levels, competition) is certainly broader than just primary school. Many corporate training departments are coming up with new ways to jazz up once-dull learning programs through this kind of “gamification” — putting sugar on their vegetables.

And while adding “leader boards”  to training initiatives like new-hire on-boarding is certainly interesting, it sure isn’t the same as a race-car video game. Will GameDesk decide to eventually “gamify” leadership training? We can only hope so …

Per Fast Co.:

“Gamification is a major buzzword in learning. Now, thanks to the support of AT&T, it has a marquee national initiative that will truly test the proposition of whether video games can motivate at-risk students to stay in school, raise test scores, and actually enjoy learning.
“‘We decided we were going to aim for exponential change in education,’ explains Beth Shiroshi, AT&T Foundation’s vice president for sustainability and philanthropy. With this reboot of its Aspire education initiative launched four years ago, AT&T has made a big bet on GameDesk, a nonprofit startup that grew out of the University of Southern California. They’re committing $3.8 million for GameDesk first to build a brick-and-mortar hub in Los Angeles, a ‘classroom of the future’ where new, game-based curricula and processes can be demonstrated, observed, and evaluated. Then the company will broadcast that data through an online educational content portal for parents, students, and educators. … “

Read the rest of the article at Fast Co

: Gamification: Should We Believe the Hype?

Image via GameDesk.

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