Profile: Jessica Trybus, Simcoach Games
Founder and Chief Games Officer
FIND A NEW APPLICATION FOR A FAMILIAR TECHNOLOGY
For nearly 15 years, we’ve been delivering video games for workforce development and training with organizations of all different sizes and industries. Gaming is a familiar tool, and we have found it to be a very effective method for communicating – for anything from training adults to affirming skills or aptitudes to deploying career awareness and readiness experiences to youth.
WHY DOES THIS WORK?
Structured play, like in well-designed video games, directly corresponds to proven principles for how people learn best. In games, players have a clear role, there’s a goal, they constantly have to make choices, react to consequences…and all of this is being tracked. You can replay a game and try different things and get different results. The framework of a game can show relevance: Playing video games allows people to directly engage with what is being taught and to understand why it is happening or to take action. Games are active learning tools – think of the power of flight simulations for nearly any occupation.
HOW IS THIS DONE?
We strongly believe we can’t do this right – game design, software development –unless we have our partners, our players, and our content experts as a core part of the agile and iterative process. We are typically not the content experts in our business. We are great game designers. The process of good game development prioritizes the inclusion of those voices from the get-go. You will not develop a good solution without this.
VIDEO GAMES CAN CHANGE LIVES
Over the years we’ve delivered a lot of games that focus on safety. We’ve been told that we’ve probably saved lives with some of these games. We have always envisioned changing lives. A big part of our focus is around workforce development. We believe that all youth should be empowered to pursue the best career path to fit their unique interests and aptitudes. So we strive to create fun video games that inspire youth and connect them to relevant career paths. With our games, you don’t even realize that you’re engaging in learning that can open you to understanding different career paths and opportunities.
One of our many games called Booeys: A Ghost’s Code (try it–it’s free and very fun), for example, affirms skills and aptitudes for careers in tech, such as logic, attention to detail, solution building, and algorithmic thinking. People might not know that there are thousands of data/IT-related jobs in our own region at banks or large hospital systems, or even that they have the interest and an aptitude for those jobs. So, this is how we’re using games to reaffirm aptitudes, reaffirm interest, and then connect people directly to jobs or training opportunities if they get to a certain level in the game. This is one example, but we are building these games for other types of skills, occupations, and industries. I’ve learned that a lot of young people would love to get into these well paying careers but don’t know about them, nor the path to get there. Using video games, we can help them discover what they’re good at and where these opportunities may lie.
HOW MANY GAMES ARE THERE?
As far as the career readiness and skill development games go, there are over 35 available on the app stores tied to what we call the Simcoach Skill Arcade. In the next couple of years, we anticipate having 100s of games available related to health IT and other industries, and the Skill Arcade will help to recommend and refer which games an individual might be interested in playing. The Simcoach Skill Arcade can also keep track of gameplay data so players can earn badges and keep track of what they are good at and interested in, and, of course, the relevant training and jobs that correspond to their zip code. The games right now are aligned with PA educational standards, so we are hoping that schools will use the games as learning tools too.
Please visit simcoachgames.com/games to see the list of free mobile games.
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