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It was refreshing to see the Daily Mail taking a constructive stance on the game industry over the weekend, even if the issue at hand was not a positive one.
The article – in The Mail on Sunday – highlighted the fact there are now several dozen ‘video game’ degrees being offered by UK universities (over 80 I believe) but that only four of these are accredited by the industry sector skills council, SkillSet, resulting in a host of, as the Mail put it; “Mickey Mouse degrees with little job relevance.”
Having written about this subject previously and as some one who was involved in a small way in the SKillset initiative and as an external industry reviewer of one institution’s curriculum I find this depressing. The UK is poised to be churning out several thousand ‘game degree graduates’ each year for a UK industry that currently employs less than ten thousand people in all capacities. There are far too many universities which are mashing together existing computer science and creative modules together and marketing them as being relevant to the games industry. At the same time companies are crying out for talented, motivated and well-trained people and cannot fill key position…at least not without paying ridiculous salaries.
Employers need graduates with specialisms e.g in 3D modelling, mathematics, physics or script-writing. Universities are providing courses that cover practically every job function in the industry meaning that whilst graduates may have an appreciation of all the different roles, they are equipped for non of them and thus place a heavy responsibility on companies to provide a huge amount of training for new hires.
Whilst the remit of educational institutions is to ‘educate’ not to train (e.g. in specific software packages) – and we must not ignore this – it is painfully apparent that there is a gross mismatch in courses which are supposed to equip graduates with the skills they need to gain employment and the real world needs of employers in this sector.
Until this matter is resolved, thousands of motivated and talented young people face having their dreams dashed and many companies will struggle to be competitive. When you consider that the cost of undertaking a degree can be calculated at £100,000 through loss of income, fees and living costs and that employers will increasingly need to offshore work in order to deliver then clearly this situation is failing UK Plc and needs to be tackled urgently.
It seems that all of a sudden the established players in the eLearning world are waking up to learning 2.0. The question, though, is do they really understand it and are they truly serious….or are they simply jumping on the bandwagon after seeing the success of much more innovative and smaller companies around the world.
SABA have a free whitepaper available entitled “Learning 2.0: Using Web 2.0 to Create Effective Informal Learning.” You can get it for free by registering at the following URL (albeit you may have to pretend that you really want to buy a new LMS!:
Overview (from SABA web site):
“While the size of the workforce is declining in North America, Europe, and Japan, the span of generations within the workforce is increasing. For the first time we have five different generations working together. Each generation is made up of a group of people who were born at approximately the same time and considered as a group having shared interests and attitudes. Therefore, the people collaborating and competing with each other in the newly flat world are multi-dimensional and these various dimensions must be accounted for in order to maximize individual and organizational performance.”
Don’t miss these key takeaways!
- Create a blended informal and formal learning model to meet the needs of today’s multigenerational workforce
- Understand the use of Web 2.0 tools, such as wikis, blogs, video capturing and editing applications, and virtual worlds for informal learning purposes
- Use technology for just-in-time information, accelerated time to competency, extended global reach and increased resource productivity
The SVW 08 event is confirmed for 11th and 12th September in Coventry, UK. Details below or visit http://www.seriousvirtualworlds.net/index.php
Keynote Speakers Confirmed:
Christian Renaud, Claus Nehmzov, Bruce Damer and David Wortley
Feedback from last years event included;
‘Extremely informative!’, ‘Exceptional speakers!’, ‘A flawless event!’
We have created this years conference to be our finest yet!
Building on the real success of first Serious Virtual Worlds conference in 2007 this is your invitation to be a part of the newly emerging professional community for the serious uses of virtual worlds. Serious Virtual Worlds’08 is the only event focussing on the serious uses of these environments.
SVW’08 will address the live issue of how virtual worlds will cross boundaries both between the real world and virtual worlds and between virtual worlds. As people spend increasing time in virtual worlds how will they interoperate between these virtual and real spaces? SVW’08 is the only international event that takes these leading edge issues and addresses them in a compact 2 day event.