Global Game-Based Learning Market to Reach $2.3 Billion by 2017 

Worldwide revenues for game-based learning reached $1.5 billion in 2012, according to new research by Ambient Insight. "The 2012-2017 Worldwide Game-Based Learning and Simulation-Based Markets" reports that the five-year compound annual growth rate for edugame products is 8.3 percent and revenues will reach $2.3 billion by 2017. 

Ambient Insight's new research reveals that mobile technology is the key driver energizing the global edugame market. The top buying countries for mobile edugames in 2012 were the United States, Japan, South Korea, China, and India, respectively. By 2017, the top buying countries will be China, the United States, India, Indonesia, and Brazil. 

Early childhood learning apps are the top selling Mobile Learning apps in most countries in the world and almost all learning apps designed for young children include gameplay. 

"One major catalyst accelerating the market is the growing number of direct billing agreements between the telecoms and the app stores," Ambient Chief Research Officer Sam S. Adkins. ”Samsung, Nokia, Microsoft, BlackBerry, and Google have direct billing agreements with carriers allowing customers to buy apps and get charged on their phone bill. This has caused a spike in Mobile Learning revenues in countries where credit card usage is uncommon," adds Adkins. 

Ambient Insight has been publishing market research on the worldwide game-based learning market since 2006. Ambient Insight released its 2012-2017 market forecasts for the worldwide edugame market at the third annual Serious Play Conference, held on August 22. It has become a tradition for Ambient Insight to release their updated edugame forecasts at this annual event. 

"We always enjoy presenting at Serious Play. We get overflow attendance at our sessions and the audiences are always very receptive,” Adkins comments.  Ambient Insight principals presented two sessions at the event. Adkins presented a session focused on revenue forecasts, and CEO Tyson Greer presented a session called "Mobile Edugame Market Innovations," which included new research on catalysts, business models, revenue opportunities, and emerging trends. Both presentations are available now for free in the event section of the Ambient Insight Resource Library. 

GAO Cites Gaps in Military Simulation Training 

A new study by the Government Accountability Office, Army and Marine Corps Training: Better Performance and Cost Data Needed to More Fully Assess Simulation-Based Efforts, says the Army and Marine Corps need to come up with better metrics for measuring the benefits of simulation-based training. 

Over the past several decades, the Army and Marine Corps have increased their use of simulation-based training to meet training goals and objectives. Service officials have noted benefits from the use of simulators and computer-based simulations—both in terms of training effectiveness and in cost savings or cost avoidance. 

Advances in technology, and emerging conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to increased use of simulation-based training in the ground forces. The services are also collaborating in the development of some simulation-based training devices. For instance, according to Marine Corps officials, the service reused 87 percent of the Army's Homestation Instrumentation Training System's components in its own training system, achieving about $11 million in cost avoidance and saving an estimated 7 years in fielding time. 

A House report accompanying the bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 mandated GAO to review the status of the military services' training programs. This report follows GAO's reports on the Navy and Air Force, and assesses changes in the Army's and Marine Corps' use of simulation-based training, including efforts to integrate live and simulation-based training capabilities. 

The report also evaluates the factors the Army and Marine Corps consider in determining whether to use live or simulation-based training, including the extent to which they consider performance and cost information. GAO focused on a broad cross-section of occupations ( aviation, armor, artillery), and analyzed service training, strategies and other documents; and conducted six site visits and interviewed service officials involved with training and training development for the selected occupations. 

GAO found that the Army and Marine Corps consider various factors in determining whether to use live or simulation-based training, but lack key performance and cost information that would enhance their ability to determine the optimal mix of training and prioritize related investments. As the services identify which requirements can be met with either live or simulation-based training or both, they consider factors such as safety and training mission. 

According to the report, both services rely on subject matter experts, who develop their training programs, and after-action reports from deployments and training exercises for information on how service members may have benefited from simulation-based training. However, neither service has established outcome metrics to assist them in more precisely measuring the impact of using simulation-based devices to improve performance or proficiency. Leading management practices recognize that performance metrics can help agencies determine the contributions that training makes to improve results. 

Army and Marine Corps officials also generally consider simulation-based training to be less costly than live training and analyze some data, such as life cycle costs, when considering options to acquire a particular simulation-based training device. However, once simulation-based training devices are fielded, the services neither reevaluate cost information as they determine the mix of training nor have a methodology for determining the costs associated with simulation-based training. 

Federal internal control standards state that decision makers need visibility over a program's financial data to determine whether the program is meeting the agencies' goals and effectively using resources. Without better performance and cost data, the services lack the information they need to make more fully informed decisions in the future regarding the optimal mix of training and how best to target investments for simulation-based training capabilities. 

GAO recommends that the services develop metrics, and a methodology to compare live and simulation-based training costs. DOD partially concurred, but noted that it captures all relevant costs needed for decision making. GAO continues to believe the services may not be considering some important simulation-based training costs and a specific methodology is needed to more fully identify the universe of costs needed for comparison purposes. 

Federal News Radio interviewed Sharon Pickup, director of defense capabilities and management issues for the GAO. Read the full story and listen to the interview here. 

Managers Fear Facebook “Friending” 

More than six in 10 senior managers surveyed by staffing firm OfficeTeam said they are uncomfortable being “friended” by their bosses (68 percent) or the employees they supervise (62 percent) — up from 47 percent and 48 percent of respondents, respectively, in a similar survey conducted in 2009. 

In addition, nearly half (49 percent) of those recently polled prefer not to connect with co-workers on Facebook, compared to 41 percent in 2009. 

"People have different comfort levels when it comes to social media, so it's best not to blanket colleagues with friend requests," said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Along with being selective about who you ask to connect with online, you should always post prudently. You don't want to share information that could reflect poorly on you."   

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Hosking added, "Although some people are hesitant to reach out to business contacts via social networks, there can be a benefit to doing so—if you approach it the right way." 

OfficeTeam offers five tips for determining if you should connect with coworkers on Facebook:

  1. Follow the leader. Let your boss or those more senior than you make the first move. Proactively sending a friend request could create an awkward situation.
  2. Scope it out. Check out whether colleagues have other employees in their networks before asking them to connect. If their lists are limited to favorite work pals, they may not be eager to friend a wider group of coworkers.   
  3. Ask first. When in doubt, ask individuals whether they would be interested in connecting on social media before sending an invite.
  4. Do a self-check. Review your profile and make sure there isn't anything posted that could damage your professional image. You may prefer that your colleagues not see your spring break photos, game updates or quiz results.
  5. Don't give in to peer pressure. You aren't obligated to share social media updates with everyone in the office. If you're concerned about slighting people by turning down invites, you can accept friend requests but use privacy settings and lists to control who can view certain content.

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees. View the research highlights.

Videogame May Help Rejuvenate Brains

A recent ScienceNOW article reports that a new videogame created by neuroscientists shows promise in reversing some signs of decline in bran function. Now, the researchers behind it aim to prove that videogame training can be more than the latest workout craze. 

Glenn Smith of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota tells ScienceNow that “the heart of the issue is whether practicing a videogame can strengthen skills that are useful away from a computer. Early research showed that people could improve on computerized memory and speed tasks in the lab.”  Smith adds, “But it’s not clear whether these gains translate to everyday life. A recent trend puts more value in games that target the underlying problem—the decline in ability to remember and react as people age.” 

ScienceNow reports that neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, also had this trend in mind as they developed a videogame called NeuroRacer. In an initial test of the game, “older adults showed improvements in their multitasking skill, measured by how little their performance dropped when the driving task was added on top of the symbol task. In fact, they scored better than untrained 20-year-olds. They also maintained this skill for 6 months after the training, without further practice.” 

Scientists agree that there needs to be more testing on using gaming, but the results thus far are “very promising.” 

Read the complete article here

Smartwatch Is Real—and Available for Purchase Soon

 

The Galaxy Gear unveiled at IFA notifies you of incoming emails, texts, and messages via a Bluetooth 4.0 + BLE connection. A preview of the alert shows up on the watch’s 320 x 320 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display. You can accept or ignore those new messages. If you get a message you decide does require your attention, a Smart Relay feature will bring the entire note to the screen of a full-size Samsung Galaxy device when that phone or tablet is picked up. For now, the only Galaxy devices supported are the Galaxy Note 3 and Note 10.1. 

The Galaxy Gear can make voice-activated phone calls. Messages can also be dictated to the watch and you can set alarms, calendar events, and if you’re indoors and have no access to a window, check the weather on the display. The watch can also shoot photos and 10-second 720p videos with its 1.9MP camera. 

The watch will work with a Galaxy device up to 1.5 meters away and can be used to find a lost phone or tablet with the Find My Device feature. The missing device beeps and vibrates until you pull it out from under the couch cushions. But don’t let that device go missing for too long, as the Gear’s battery will only last you about a day. 

The Gear will be available September 25 in 140 countries and early October in the United States for $300. 

Ivy League Online Course Succeeds When It Makes Students Stars 

The Wired article, “Want to Make Online Learning Work? Turn Students Into the Stars,” describes how an Ivy League institution received glowing accolades for a recent online class. So, what made the difference? 

Wired reports that the Ivy League university wanted to mimic the in-person classroom experience as much as possible, so “it not only delivered a live video feed of the professor but also of the 25 students—simultaneously.” 

Since social media is the norm for current students, who grew up with YouTube, FaceTime, and video chats, “seeing videos of themselves in a live online class helps them feel more connected, while also enabling them to communicate visually with each other. This not only fosters community and accountability but also the creation of a more conducive learning environment,” concludes the article. 

And the results are clear that the course was indeed a success. According to student feedback: Not only was there an 86 percent improvement in engagement over previous online courses, but students gave the class a 9-out-of-10 when it came to “quality expected from this university.” 

Read the complete article to learn more.