Game-based learning for teaching science in Arizona State University
Arizona State University (ASU) has launched an initiative for the use of games and simulations in the teaching of Environmental Sciences. With the aim of promoting the participation of students, the center has chosen game-based learning courses.
The decision of this North American university to implement gamification programs responds to the demands of new ways of learning. Game-based learning has long been knocking on the doors of training all around the world, not only in schools and universities, but also in companies and institutions for corporate training.
Heading this project at the University of Arizona is Tahnja Wilson, who says that the “interactive” properties of this training will be a great “complement” during the course. In these serious games, Arizona students will take various leadership roles “with increasing responsibility, to help a community to challenge environmental and sustainability issues.” Among the interactive features of these simulators are the possibility of downloading digital learning objects, taking notes and answering questions.
This initiative will allow students to evaluate the effects of their decisions on the environment. Thanks to the simulator, real-life issues are brought up to be resolved with no risk. At the end of each module, both students and teachers will have instruments to measure the learning quality of the participants, depending on how much of an impact on the environmental, economic and social sustainability their actions have had during the game.
This project reveals the inevitable: gamified training will increase over the years. When these students, now learning with games, join the workforce in a few years, they will demand game-based learning programs and serious games for the development of their skills.
It is not something to which we can close our eyes; it is the trend of the future that will eventually become a reality not only in universities, but also in the business world. Fortunately, it is not only the University of Arizona that has proved its commitment to providing opportunities for innovation. Many businesses have also opened their doors to the use of simulators and serious games for corporate training.
Companies such as L’Oreal, IBM or Gamelearn have shown the power of gamification for personal and professional development of employees and managers as well as for measuring their learning results. The United States has recently awarded the 100 best Elearning companies, both public and private, for having launched innovative training projects. Among those elected was the California Tax Service Center, for the implementation of the course-game on negotiation, Merchants, for the second consecutive year.