Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Game Requirement For College Grads

Olds College in Alberta will be one of the first schools to require a specific game must be completed in order to graduate. The game is one where students are expected to run their own Lemonade Stand and it was developed for the school, not just a random find on the internet. It's part of their "Discover Entrepreneurship" course, which every student at the school is required to take.They have taken the ideas of what makes a game fun and applied them to a learning situation, to as close to a real life simulation, but not quite all the way because it's still a game.

While it's good in theory, it does present a few problems that the article did pick up on. Students are allowed to go at their own pace, but with a ranking system that everyone can view, it does cause some students to rush and make brash decisions that hurt their Lemonade business, where as in the real world, they wouldn't have made such choices. Seeing people's scores, we want to try to top them. It's not the best way to build a successful company by always trying to be on top. Some of the best businesses achieve their goals by hitting the middle of the road. It also sounds as though there is no easy way to move back and forth between the lesson plans in the game and checking your current stats, scores, and capital.

Of course there are a number of benefits to be taken with the game. It provides an experience and allows you to make choices without real world consequences. You can make the mistakes now versus later in life should you happen to start your own business.

This is one of the few situations where I can see a game being applied to a class and work. Many still see games as a gimmick, like DDR in gym class. Or 'my class will be cool if we talk about games.' That's not the best approach. But we're starting to see a shift, and this is a good direction to go.

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