Thursday, May 15, 2014

Core Curriculum Needs a Principal

In our last post we looked at Gamification in a business setting, but where we see an even bigger opportunity for leveraging games is in the education space. We're not talking here about the general concept of simply increasing engagement through rewards, but rather about aiming to create games that help drive learning and bring our kids levels up to and beyond those of the core curriculum.

This is not to say there's any shortage of educational games out there. There are thousands… and new ones are added every day – but to what end? What seems to be missing is a standard of knowledge to aim the learning at. The core curriculum is not ideal, but it is a standard and perhaps it's the one that could help our kids to compete effectively with their contemporaries in adult life – especially the ones whose parents take extreme measures to ensure their kids' education is up to par, or those who are lucky enough to grow up in Estonia.

While the recommended maximum is 1-2 hours per day, most kids spend 7 hours, and often more, playing games of one sort or another. For most of that time their natural curiosity isn't satisfied, they don't learn any useful skills and they don't do anything to make the world a better place (yes, even kids are capable of that in the right environment). Most of that valuable time is wasted. Without recognized standards for educational games, we as parents have no way of judging the quality of the learning experience and its application in a wider context.

We strongly believe that the education system will undergo some revolutionary changes over the coming decade. Classroom learning is likely to end up playing a very different and possibly less significant role. In contrast, gamified e-learning will gradually become more impactful, particularly in the non-college educational space.

As such, there needs to be a central authority, represented by one or more entities, responsible for making sure that learning apps meet particular criteria. Apart from reassuring parents that certain apps are suitable their children's learning needs, it will also encourage developers to bring their products up to the recognized level. Moreover, it will encourage greater competitiveness between developers, and drive diversification and innovation in the e-learning sector. And then it will really become a game!! Encouraging strides are being made in that direction, but as far as brilliant ideas go, this one seems to be up for grabs at the moment.

Would you like to share your insights on the developments in this space or recommend any great resources?

Rachel, Dan & Dmitry

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