Are you coming to the most important industry event this year?

Game Based Learning is at the end of this month, on the 29th and 30th in London. Everyone of any substance in the industry should be there. The reason is that gaming for educational purposes is going to grow to become far, far bigger as an industry than recreational gaming. In fact most people would be surprised about just how big it already is. Military and industrial trainers are far more pragmatic than the hidebound formal education sector and so have adopted game based learning with open arms for the massive benefits that it brings.

The fundamental mechanism of gaming is that you start off with knowledge or assets, you are then asked to apply these to a problem, when you solve the problem you are rewarded. This is just brilliant for teaching. Vastly better in just about every way to the highly compromised historic classroom system. That we haven’t already moved across wholesale is a measure of our own ineptitude and a huge disservice to all those still suffering from old fashioned educational methods.

So this conference is essential stuff. Here is the programme. See you there.

3 comments ↓

#1 Lee on 03.18.10 at 1:12 pm

Meh. I remember reading an almost identical speil about this in 1992 and I recently read an old one that hardly differed at all in the concept and wording from 1983.
Sure Educational games will always have a market and a place in society. But they are never going to be the super-$$ they are touted as. We have been waiting 30 years for the promises of this new market boom. Still hasn’t happened.

I’ll put in the basket with the hover cars and laser weapons. lol.

#2 Bruce on 03.19.10 at 9:32 am

@Lee
The boom in game based learning is happening right now and you haven’t noticed. Two of the biggest games of recent years are educational. Brain Age and Wii Fit. Emergency services around the world use games for scenario training. The military and many businesses use MMORPGs to give people experience of an environment before being exposed to it. The list goes on and on.

The classroom of the formal education system will be the last bastion to fall because it is so entrenched and has so many vested interests. It is also immensely inefficient.

I can see a small country having the bravery to be first mover here and so gain a competitive advantage. Somewhere like Singapore or Finland. But once it has been done and the massive advantages exposed to the world everyone will rapidly follow.

Another possible scenario is for game based learning to grow out of the boom in distance learning that is currently underway. This would be more flexible and gradual and we are already seeing signs of it with gaming on Moodle.

#3 Lee on 03.21.10 at 1:01 am

Firstly Wii Fit is hardly an educational game. I think you are redefining the term to be too broad if you include Wii Fit.
Secondly Brain Age is hardly a success. It made a profit.. awesome. But outside the UK it’s sales are dismal.

The use of games for the training of Military, Emergency Services and Police is very tiny globally. The trend that was started in the USA has not really taken off, and never translates to support for the game industry.
I was reading an interesting interview with one of the top US Militiary officers in charge of reviewing training techniques, who was saying that while the benefits they gain from training in computer games was great, the time and cost is just not worth it for them. As such it remains a gimmick for the new recruits nd useful publicity spin.

I agree that formal education in the classroom is at best a dog’s breakfast around the world. I also agree that Games have the potential to solve the issue.
But as we have seen so far, the game producers have about as much imagination as an insect flying to it’s doom at a light globe. Indie developers may change this but then the problem will be to convince governments and school boards that these games are worthwhile. Which won’t happen until the baby boomer generation with all the odd backwards ideas they push are gone.

This area of gaming in the education industry is quite old. I have no doubt it will be able to grow, there is certainly room for it. But the growth will be slow and long. No boom. Just a gradual rise to eventual profits.
That is what we have seen for 30 years now (actually there have been some serious drops in it’s use in that time). There has been nothing to indicate any potential to change rapidly enough to call it a boom.

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