Growing up, Jessica Trybus, Founder and Chief Games Officer of Simcoach Games knew she was going to be a CEO. But she also wanted to be an actress, so she studied acting, majored in theatre and went into the film industry. Then she moved to Silicon Valley, and then back to Pennsylvania, to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. With this kind of background, she was bound to come up with something unusual and out of the box.
Doing a Master’s in Entertainment Technology at CMU, Jessica realized that the principles of good games design mirrored those of effective learning. So she started developing videogames that companies could use for internal training. Large companies were quick to see the value: they need to train a younger generation to replace their aging workforce. Plus, videogames turned out to be a lot more effective at changing behaviors than the old traditional methods used for example for safety training. It turns out that driving a virtual forklift off a ledge and killing your avatar in the process is a lot of fun, and leaves you with a very vivid impression of why you should be careful with the real forklift…
Jessica then pivoted to games aimed at a younger generation, students getting ready to enter the workforce. She developed the Simcoach Skills Arcade, a powerful platform with games that allow you to test your skills for different manufacturing jobs, and to acquire the basic behavioral skills you will need at a job interview. Playing the games you discover what you are good at, you accumulate badges, and the platform will give you information on what job opportunities you might have in your area. Similarly, your badges can show a potential employer that you are “pre-qualified’ for a specific career.
Jessica makes a compelling case that gamification of learning will transform education and training. We put her games to the test: tune in to hear Michael and Marco’s crushed egos…and more importantly Michael’s kids’ reactions. Enjoy the episode!