How a Gamified Course Helps College Students Choose Careers
For some college students, the hardest academic choice they need to make is selecting a major. The difficulty is compounded by their awareness that what they study in college has a strong bearing on what they will do for their career. North Carolina State University has turned to gamification to help students with these choices. By making a game part of the education process, university officials say that they can help students make more informed choices about their college studies and their future careers.
NC State’s Distance Education & Learning Technology Applications developed a game for the university’s Introduction to Sport Management course. The game was developed in Moodle (which stands for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment), an open-source learning management system, explains EdTech Magazine. In the game students must acquire points within 14 different skill sets applying to 10 different career paths. These careers range from media, sports tourism, coaching, or general manager of a sports team, among other choices. Edwin Lindsay, a professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, tells EdTech that the university’s goal was to expose students to various entry-level jobs available, but do so in the form of a game. He adds that conducting the course as a game makes students aware of other jobs that might be a better match.
The game rewards students for completing an activity, and rewards them again for achieving a certain number of points. The game not only helps students select careers, it also helps them learn more about their strengths and weaknesses so they can figure out what to improve to prepare for a specific career. One of the advantages of the game, Lindsay says, is that it gives students the opportunity to try things in an environment where it’s O.K. to fail. That way, students are better prepared to succeed when they move on to careers in the real world.
The game is not just limited to sports management. Based on the results of the game in that department, other university departments are adapting it for their students. EdTech says the NC State’s horticulture department has launched gamified courses, and others departments are considering following suit.
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