By Daniel Burrus
Anyone who has kids — or who has been around them for any length of time — knows they are attracted to video games like moths to light. You might be tempted to think these young-uns are using their time idly.
In reality, they’re pioneering the future of business training and education.
This is part of a trend I call gameification, which I first identified in the early ’80s and is today reaching its tipping point.
Gameification represents part of a predictable sequence. Many of the greatest technological advances in business have come originally from the world of kids and their games. Here’s how the sequence flows:
First, an innovative concept or new technology often starts out in the world of games for children. Sometimes it’s the military (or in times past, the space program) that serves as the launch point. But it’s amazing how often it’s kids’ games.
From there it sooner or later gains the attention of the adults in the business community as they learn how to adapt and apply it to their needs.
Finally, it creeps into the education sector.
Just look at the evolution of social media.
When new social-media sites such as FaceBook and Twitter first launched, who were the first to get on board? Young people. Adults didn’t see the value. (Who really cares what you had for lunch or what outfit someone wore to the dance?) Eventually adults in the business world started seeing how social media could be used for tasks like brand management, marketing, and collaboration, and began embracing the tools their teenage kids had long mastered.
New Thresholds of Interactivity
Social media and video games are very different technologies, but the migration pattern is the same. And with game-controller systems like the Wii and Xbox Kinect giving us radical new ways of interacting with technology, the business world is finally on the threshold of becoming gameified.
In the past, gaming meant sitting passively in front of a computer or television screen and using a game pad, joystick, or keyboard to play against the computer or online opponent. No more. With Nintendo’s interactive Wii, players began standing up and getting physically involved in their games. Microsoft’s Kinect eliminated the need for a hand-held controller entirely, with players using movements of their hands and bodies to manipulate the game.
Thanks to Microsoft’s software development kit for the Kinect, university students are writing software that lets users control business software using hand motions alone — no keyboard or mouse. You want to go to the next page? Just sweep your hand in the air, past your screen. Sweep left, sweep right, scroll up, scroll down… Remember in Minority Report how Tom Cruise could maneuver data in the air without touching anything? Science fiction to science fact. Interactive gaming like this will transform the nature of training and education.
Five Core Elements
Based on 25 years of research, I’ve identified five core elements that can dramatically accelerate learning when applied together.
1) Self-Diagnostic. In the world of gaming, the more feats you accomplish, the greater challenges the game gives you. Power down and the game remembers where you left off, so when you return to the game, you don’t have to start over from scratch.
How much time have you wasted sitting through business trainings that mostly covered things you already knew, just to learn those few key items you didn’t? Why not give your business training a self-diagnostic component, like advanced video games?
2) Interactivity. For centuries education and training have been mostly passive experiences: someone stands in front of the group and talks, and the trainees sit and listen. You might get some hands-on practice in a lab, but that’s comparatively rare.
In advanced video games you move things around and manipulate items. You interact with the information. You are engaged and immersed — and learning is far more effective when you interact with the material. Why not create an interactive module for your business training?
3) Immersion . With early 3D technology (including today’s 3D movies and 3D televisions) you have to wear special glasses to make the images pop out at you. With newer technology the 3D is interspatial: instead of images popping out at you, you enter them. You become immersed in the information.
When you’re training salespeople on, say, a particular manufacturing tool they’re going to sell, why not have them see the tool in 3D and get to manipulate the tool (virtually) rather than have them read spec sheets about it?
4) Competition. Humans are naturally competitive. We want to sell more, be more productive, and innovate faster and better than the next person. When you sit in class learning, there’s little competitive value. Whether you learn the materials in one hour or three, no one advances until the class is over.
When you compete in a game, there’s an adrenaline rush that keeps you engaged and focused on the task at hand. In an effort to win, people master concepts faster so they can be first.
5) Focus. When you play a game, you’re forced to focus. You have to do A before B can occur. If you don’t focus on doing A, you don’t get very far. Focus is enhanced by interactivity, competition, immersion, and self-diagnosis. And when you can focus, you can learn virtually anything — fast.
When you model your company’s training to include these five elements, your employees will learn more in less time and have better results.
Using all five core elements is the key to accelerating learning. With more and more to learn, it will be increasingly important to gamily both business and education to create better results faster. Since businesses spend large sums of money on training and education, any tool that can accelerate or enhance learning will save both time and dollars. Those companies and school districts that adopt early will be the long-term winners.
So here’s your homework assignment: Get together with a kid and play one of their games. While you’re playing, think about and how you could reinvent learning with tools like these.
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and business strategists, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous untapped opportunities. He is the author of Flash Foresight (CLICK HERE to get your copy now).
ONE DAY LAST NOVEMBER, psychology professor Carol Dweck welcomed a pair of visitors from the Blackburn Rovers, a soccer team in the United Kingdom’s Premier League. The Rovers’ training academy is ranked in England’s top three, yet performance director Tony Faulkner had long suspected that many promising players weren’t reaching their potential. Ignoring the team’s century-old motto—arte et labore, or “skill and hard work”—the most talented individuals disdained serious training.
On some level, Faulkner knew the source of the trouble: British soccer culture held that star players are born, not made. If you buy into that view, and are told you’ve got immense talent, what’s the point of practice? If anything, training hard would tell you and others that you’re merely good, not great. Faulkner had identified the problem; but to fiit, he needed Dweck’s help.
A 60-year-old academic psychologist might seem an unlikely sports motivation guru. But Dweck’s expertise—and her recent book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success—bear directly on the sort of problem facing the Rovers. Through more than three decades of systematic research, she has been figuring out answers to why some people achieve their potential while equally talented others don’t—why some become Muhammad Ali and others Mike Tyson. The key, she found, isn’t ability; it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.
What’s more, Dweck has shown that people can learn to adopt the latter belief and make dramatic strides in performance. These days, she’s sought out wherever motivation and achievement matter, from education and parenting to business management and personal development.
Read the Full Article: http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2007/marapr/features/dweck.html
Online training tool to become part of Earthquakes Academy curriculum
San Jose, Calif. – iSoccer.org, the fast-growing online training and assessment tool for soccer players, coaches and teams, has become the Official Technical Assessment Provider of Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes, making it the first partnership between iSoccer and an MLS club.
The Earthquakes will integrate iSoccer’s online assessment and training technology into its Earthquakes Academy curriculum. The club will also provide access to its professional players to help iSoccer develop a “Professional Standard” in areas such as ball comfort, juggling, dribbling, passing and aerial control.
“We are pleased to be using this innovative technology to identify and improve players of all ages under the Earthquakes umbrella,” said Dave Kaval, President of the San Jose Earthquakes. “iSoccer is a great way for the next generation of players and fans to positively interact with the Quakes and for all the potential talent in California and around the world to compare themselves to our pros.”
“What a wonderful relationship for both iSoccer and the San Jose Earthquakes.,” said iSoccer Founder and CEO, Scott Leber. “Their academy is quickly becoming the preferred destination for some of the most talented young players in Northern California and we are happy to be a part of their overall development and evaluation strategy. We will also be able to leverage their professional players to inspire and motivate youth players across the region–providing ‘Heroes of the Game’ as role models is a very powerful motivator for young players looking to take their game to the next level!”
In addition to individual player analysis, iSoccer will assess and log scores for all Earthquakes Academy players including the U-18 and U-16 teams along with U-14 Pre-Academy Regional Development Schools throughout the season starting in 2012. The Earthquakes will also feature iSoccer score reports as part of their official player evaluation process.
iSoccer has partnered with more than 200 clubs in all 50 states and has collected over 500,000 players assessments since its launch. The player assessment interface was re-launched in September 2011 with new features and has been positively reviewed by soccer websites such as http://www.soccer365.com, http://www.equalizersoccer.com and http://www.womensprosoccer.com, among others.
Coaches, We Need Your Help to ‘Raise the Level!’
Please take 10-15 minutes to complete this survey, and we will match the results with the hundreds of thousands of quantitative assessment results already gathered to better understand how:
1 – Technical skills correlate to in-game performance.
2 – Individual achievement has impacted player motivation
As a way of saying thank you, complete by Dec. 1 and you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a $100 Gift Certificate from Eurosport.
Thanks in advance for your willingness to help us make iSoccer as effective a motivational and player evaluation tool as possible!
Full Article: http://www.ourgamemagazine.com/?p=1459
By Scott Leber, iSoccer.org – This fall, thousands and thousands of hours are going to be spent training to improve a young player’s technical ability. And a great question to ask is, “Are we making the best use of that time?” Across the country, players are getting a lot of touches on the ball – however, they may not be training at the speed or the sharpness that is required in games.
Coaches often ask players to dribble in a box or allow players to have less than perfect touches. But in a game, we are not dribbling in a box and the ball turns over every time there is a lazy or poor touch. When we don’t provide enough pressure, a time constraint, or a space constraint, we may not be challenging our players to develop the proper tools to solve the problems that the game demands.
Therefore, as much as possible, we need to train in game-like setting when working on our individual skills.
So how do we do it?
First, we have to ask the player to be deliberate with every single touch. Try and isolate a specific skill or skills to leave no room for interpretation – the coach and player knows exactly what is being asked to perform and players can really see where their weaknesses are. If the first touch has to be with the outside of the right foot and at a forward angle, demand it. If you want the pass to hit the right foot, demand that type of accuracy. If you want a quick outside right touch and then an inside right foot touch past the defender after the scissor, demand it.
Next, we can limit the time they have to do the skill and keep score. When placing a time constraint and a score to a skill, we are requiring players to perform the skills at their absolute maximum speed for that time period. You will be amazed when the work rate jumps 15 to 20 percent! Players will consistently want to beat their old scores while wanting to compare themselves with their teammates. Building a healthy sense of competition in practice can be motivating and fun for all the players.
Finally, when you add deliberate training + time constraint + score keeping, we are applying the best pressure we can to an individual player – the pressure to be better than yourself. Players can now set their own goals and see their own improvement. Individual achievement in a team setting can be very powerful. The strongest and weakest players on the team can score and improve at their own rate without being dependent on anyone else.
So let’s make the most of this fall! Be deliberate with every touch. Perform the skill at game speed. And always push yourself to improve your score!
Scott Leber is the Founder and CEO of iSoccer.org. iSoccer was founded in 2008 with a single objective: How to motivate players to train harder and increase their technical ability. Check out iSoccer.org to learn more about the iSoccer skills test, tracking tools and age group technical standards.
[Go to iSoccer.org to begin knowing your level so you can raise your level]
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (September 29, 2011) – iSoccer.org, the popular online training product and motivational tool for recreational and competitive soccer players, has added former WPS Commissioner and Stanford soccer standout Tonya Antonucci to its Board of Directors. Antonucci is the CEO of the Women’s Soccer Initiative (WSII), which launched Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) and was Commissioner of the league from 2007-2010, as well as a member of the board for professional soccer with US Soccer from 2009-2011. She launched the Yahoo! Sports property and was formerly a General Manager at Yahoo!, overseeing the company’s award-winning 2002 FIFA World Cup ™ site.
“We are incredibly pleased to have Tonya join our board. She brings a wealth of experience in a space that is critical to our development and success: the merging of technology and soccer,” said iSoccer CEO & Founder, Scott Leber. “Her insights will be invaluable as we continue to grow our brand and refine our product.”
iSoccer launched its new web interface in early September 2011 and has collected nearly 500,000 individual assessments since launching as an online training tool in 2010. Following a series of ball tests on the field, each individual assessment is then entered online by players. The aim of iSoccer’s assessment is to provide a standard by which players can gauge their progress and coaches can pinpoint areas for technical improvement and individual progress.
“iSoccer’s product is unique in the marketplace,” said Antonucci. “It fuses the benefits of online technology and national standards with individual player assessments to provide a platform for technical proficiency and improvement. It’s such an incredibly useful tool for all teams, coaches and individuals that I envision it growing into a must-have in both elite and recreational training and development..”
[Go to iSoccer.org to begin knowing your level so you can raise your level]
The iSoccer assessment was used at the Region IV ODP camp in Moscow, Idaho this past summer. Over 850 players were assessed and over 11,000 assessment results were collected. This report organizes and graphs the data, and compares the Region IV Girls’ results to the 2010 national standards as well as the emerging division I college standard.
To see the scores and graphs, download the full report: 2011 Region IV Girls Report by iSoccer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Group of Stanford Soccer Grads Look to Raise the Bar in the Way Soccer Talent Is Developed with Help of the Internet
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (September 8, 2011) – iSoccer.org, the popular online training product and motivational tool for recreational and competitive soccer players, has launched a new product phase this week on its website: http://www.iSoccer.org. The new product takes the player, coach and club experience to the next level. They are able to go online and assess a player’s individual level based on a series of 16 skills in the span of a less than an hour with the ultimate goal of increasing a players technical acuity for the game.
iSoccer.org was founded in 2008 by former Stanford soccer standout Scott Leber. A long‐time youth coach, Leber pinpointed the unique opportunity of harnessing online technology to solve a fundamental problem in the current development of American soccer talent: a lack of technical ability and motivation among young players. With their national testing standard, iSoccer has collected 451,873 assessments scores and over 14.4 million touches on the soccer ball have been logged by individuals since launching in early 2010. Youth clubs in all 50 states, five state soccer organizations and eight national organizations, including the National Soccer Coaches Assocaition of America, have all partnered with iSoccer.org in its mission to raise the level of the game.
“We are attempting to fundamentally change and enhance how youth players and teams develop their talent,” said iSoccer founder and CEO, Scott Leber. “By integrating the power of technology, proven motivational psychology, and a progressive training platform, we believe we have found a present‐day solution to the many obstacles players and teams encounter that constrain player development. Our goal is to unleash a player’s full potential.”
The online assessment allows coaches and players to breakdown specific areas for individual improvement. This targeted training approach produces more complete and dynamic players, while helping to motivate kids all at the same time.
Local coaches benefited from a Flow-ESPN football clinic that introduced online technologies to bolster football performance.
The clinic was led by the US-based company, ISoccer.org and André Virtue of Whole Life Ministries, who exposed coaches to revolutionary training methods and procedures via several drills and online tutorial programmes. The two-day clinic, which took place at Jarrett Park in Montego Bay earlier this week, sought to strengthen the coaching skills of coaches from all over Jamaica.
Virtue, who is the local organiser of the camp, says it was formulated to keep the rural coaches up to speed with the latest international techniques to improve their overall training capabilities. It forms part of a broader programme that Flow initiated last year as part of its investment in local football.
Under that programme last year, Flow teamed up with its international broadcast partners, ESPN, to expose 40 local coaches and over 100 players to the expertise of international football stars Robbie Earle, Frank Leboeuf, Shaka Hislop, Russell Latapy, and Uche Okafor, who conducted several coaching seminars at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium.
The clinic will continue later this year in November as the broader Flow-ESPN group returns to build on this initial training. Explaining how the clinic works, Virtue said, “ISoccer is a programme with an assessment tool which the coaches will use to break down the technical level of a player, as well as to identify weaknesses within that player.
“The tool is called the National Assessment, which is a test to measure a player’s overall technical ability. Those tests involve juggling, dribbling, first touch and pass, aerial control and ball skills.”
Speaking on the joint initiative, Sharon Roper, vice-president of marketing at Flow, says that it is very important for Flow to support local football talent.
“The sport of football has been one of the most popular avenues for youth development in Jamaica,” she said. “The national football programme has resulted in many opportunities for young men for social mobility and personal development. Flow is, therefore, pleased to team up with ESPN, Isoccer.org and Whole Life Ministries to strengthen the sport.”
Read the Full Article: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20110906/sports/sports5.html