Online games

Earlier this quarter, I started researching for my thesis about learning through online games and the types of skills that could potentially being learned through them. After last week’s class discussion of virtual communities, I thought I would mention an article I found during my research. To give some background, I first started my research on how leadership can be better developed using online gaming. I think of leadership as a skill is molded best when tested. In many of life scenarios, there only so many ways to test leadership and in most of these settings, multiple failures results in termination. “Leadership’s Online Labs”
by Byron Reeves, Thomas W. Malone, and Tony O’Driscoll details how online gaming can build leadership.

“The stakes are just a bit higher in business. But don’t dismiss online games as mere play. The best ones differ from traditional video games as much as universities do from one-room schoolhouses. In fact, these enterprises are actually sprawling online communities in which thousands of players collaborate with and compete against one another in real time within a visually three-dimensional virtual world—one that persists and evolves even while a player is away.”

These highly interactive online communities creates the potential for the members to learn certain skills at a low risk environment. I think this is key to learning a new skill. Be able to test yourself and learn from others is the best way for many people to learn. Personally, I can relate to this because of my career in sports; sports is a continuously test of your current state of your skills. Also like sports, online gaming is world wide reaching a diverse group. Sports have different styles depending on where it is being played, but possesses the same core rules and principles. I see this similarity as a strength for online gaming.

“Some estimates put the current number of registered players world- wide at more than 50 million; World of Warcraft alone claims 10 million players, who pay a subscription fee of roughly $15 a month. Participants play for an average of 22 hours a week, according to researcher Nick Yee of the Palo Alto Research Center; their average age is 27, and about 85% are men.”

The potential of learning though online gaming is endless and closely relates to collaborative work nature of the real world. Real time decisions and efficient communication are some of the qualities that are emphasized and rewarded in online-gaming.

“In broad terms, that environment can be expected to feature the fluid workforces, the self-organized and collaborative work activities, and the decentralized, nonhierar- chical leadership that typify games. In more specific terms, we found several distinctive characteristics of leadership in online games that suggest some of the qualities tomorrow’s business leaders will need in order to achieve success.”