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Can You Get Your MBA Using A Video Game?

A business strategy learning game can be just as effective at teaching as a professor, according to a recent experiment conducted by Hult International Business School professor John Beck.

Beck and his team designed a new game, One Day, to challenge his students to develop a business strategy for an airport based on data reports and interactions with non-game playing characters -variables that change every time a student plays. Beck’s class was then divided into two groups: those who only played One Day and those who only received traditional instruction, such as reading, lecture, case study and in-class presentations, from a top-rated professor. At the end of the semester, students who played One Day achieved similar results as their peers.

Can You Get Your MBA Using A Video Game?

Can You Get Your MBA Using A Video Game?

According to Beck, One Day uses a unique learning method that complements traditional instruction. Instead of replicating what happens in the classroom, the game presents students with a business scenario that evolves as they plan, strategize and interact with given materials. This allows students to experience basic concepts in a more immersive way.

Professors benefit, too. The game also offers them more time to help students refine their skills in harder to learn areas, and to conduct research and teach more granular material.

Beck’s experiment comes at a time when many business schools are experimenting with making their curriculum more virtual after largely resisting increased use of technology due to the difficulty of programming high-level concepts.

Elite colleges around the country, such as Stanford and Harvard, are already exploring new ways to present difficult concepts to online users. A single course for HarvardX, the university’s online learning platform which launched last year, already has more than 10,000 registered students. Schools typically do not charge students for these courses, affording many people who normally would not have access to graduate degrees an opportunity to obtain one.

The inclusion of video game-based learning in business schools is a significant extension of this model. These games provide the opportunity to learn to more people without sacrificing educational payoff, as Beck’s experiment shows. Successes of programs such as One Day also show an unprecedented leap in capabilities and complexity for learning games otherwise reserved for simple concepts like basic math and typing.

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