The legions of new college grads not being able to find jobs has sparked a huge debate about the effectiveness of college and traditional education in general. People at all levels society are saying that traditional schooling doesn't actually prepare people for real world employent. It has been deemed innefficient and really all it proves is that a person is able to jump through a hoop that society has deemed necessary for a level of status. Using web-based, or even intranet-based educational video games is the solution.
The majority of people under the age of 40 have played video games. Most of them play video games a lot! Simply put, jobs should be taught through video games alongside traditional education methods. This would provide an enjoyable way to learn and apply skills traditionally taught in a classroom environment. It would provide interactive interdisciplinary experience that would allow students to learn at a much faster rate. Sure many of us remember playing "Oregon Trail" a long time ago and joked about how ridiculous it was. Well it really wasn't very good, but neither was the first try at the airplane and just about every other idea in the history of humankind. As a web designer, I remember in the early 2000's most business owners said they would never need a website and quoted the dot com bust of the late 90's as a reason to stay away from having an online presence. Now in 2014, every single one of them now has a website or has gone out of business.
"The importance of college and higher education should remain in high regard, but it could be improved with more practical application. This can be done most effectively through educational video games that simulate real-world scenarios." - Ron Bohn
There is an increasing trend of non-educational video games to include teamwork as part of the functionality for games. This is where utilizing the internet and video games on websites comes into play. This multiplayer via websites concept is being applied heavily within games of every genre, with the exception of education. When a person finishes school, whatever level that might be, they will most likely need to be part of a team environment. Anybody that attended school in the past 20 years most likely had to work on a team project. You may also remember that the 80/20 rule applies; 20% of the people usually do 80% of the work. In today's business world in many industries it is becoming increasingly easier for employers to quantify the contributions of its employees via statistical tracking programs; very much like the ones built into many video games. It only makes sense to apply this same level of technology to our schools. The most effective way to do this is through video games where keeping track of statistics, tasks and other crucial data has been part of built-in non-educational functionality for many years.
By utilizing current gaming statistics functionality, students using educational games could compete against each other across the classroom, state, country and the world. This would give students in lower quality school systems the same chance as other students. This concept of competition is what capatilist America is built upon and it encourages the development of better ideas, products and inventions. The games themselves could be the tests and the scores are the grades.
Improving educational video games would also give students a means to experience a simulation of a job to decide whether or not they will actually enjoy the day-to-day job functions of virtually any career path. Since typical classroom environments are much different than working the actual jobs in which the conveyed information would be applied.
Studies have shown that the average college student changes their major several times before obtaining an undergraduate degree. This is great business for the university they are attending, but it is horrible for the finances for its students. Even still many students end up "settling" for a major and going into a career that they hardly understand, much less know whether they will like it or not. It usually leads to two scenarios, either no job and lots of debt, or a job they hate and lots of debt. It is very clear that there is a direct correlation of this when you consider that the United States is country with massive debt with a scourge of depressed people. This also leads to extra stress, which contributes to obesity, bad parenting and a plethora of other negative issues we are currently facing.
Now is the best time ever to develop video games on websites that teach people how to a practical education to do real jobs. The video game industry is starting to plateau more than ever which means that it is more easy and inexpensive to develop high quality video games than ever before. Graphics on the latest game system rival real life and some of the games look even better than the actual world we live in. Even with the amazing current abilites for visual graphics and animated, some of the most popular games are the ones that are built on great functionality and gameplay; they don't necessarily rely on the most superior visual aesthetics available. These games do not require as detailed level of 3d modeling and design can be much less expensive to build compared to the latest and greatest iteration of gaming machines and computers.
You don't have to have the most expensive game in the world to make it extremely useful and fun for educational purposes. It should be an extension beyond the classroom. When people enjoy doing something, they tend to be a lot better at it. Why not make learning more fun and applicable?