This Is the Tech That Will Make Learning as Addictive as Video Games

The way we learn today is just wrong.

Learning needs to be less like memorization, and more like…Angry Birds.

Half of school dropouts name boredom as the number one reason they left.

How do we get our kids to want to learn?

The post is about why the future of education will be about flipping our current model on its head and about how key exponential technologies like AI, VR and gamification are going to drive a revolution in education.

From A’s to Angry Birds

In the traditional education system, you start at an “A,” and every time you get something wrong, your score gets lower and lower.

In the gaming world, it’s just the opposite.

You start with zero, and every time you come up with something right, your score gets higher and higher.

It completely flips the way we currently learn, and it’s addictively fun.

How addicting?

Over 155 million Americans play video games, and spend upwards of 3 billion hours per week engrossed in a game.

Think about what you do when you play a video game.

You observe a problem
You form a hypothesis
You test the hypothesis
You ultimately learn from the immediate feedback and you try it again.
It’s the scientific method.

We need to make kids as addicted to learning as they are to gaming.

One strategy is to literally “gamify” learning itself.

FoldIt: A Brilliant Example of Gamification

One compelling example of combining gamification and learning is an application called FoldIt.

Proteins are the basic building blocks of your cells. For the longest time, predicting how a protein folds has been a very difficult problem. A group of graduate students asked the question: “Is the ability of the human brain able to predict protein folding better than a computer?”

In 2008, they created a game called FoldIt, in which a user gets a digital representation of protein and then begins to manipulate and fold the protein on the screen.

The lower the stress and strain on that protein molecule, the better their score.

Over 240,000 registered users signed up to play.

Brilliantly, it turned out that humans were much better at folding proteins than algorithms — and it turned out that the best protein-folder was a woman who, during the day, was an executive secretary at a rehab clinic and, at night, became the best protein folder on the planet.

Gaming outperforms textbooks in every area. Pilots and surgeons trained on video games and simulations outperform those who are not. Customized gaming teaches creativity and innovation. Hours spent playing video games is associated with increased executive function in children. And so on.

To read the rest of this article, published in Singularity Hub, please click here.