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While unlocking human potential is clearly a complex endeavor, a core premise underlying the Center for Games and Impact is that, in general, we have been operating under the wrong paradigm–from a deficit framework. Quite problematically, we have allowed for human capacity to be treated as a ‘commodity’ that can be converted into a textbook chapter, a professorial lecture, an online module, or a videogame and then transmitted to fix a broken learner.

In contrast, at the core of the invitational framework being advanced here is the belief that the goal of any learning system is to unlock potential of the learner, not to transmit content, with all the other differences falling out of this core assumption.

  • We are arguing for a paradigm shift in the ways we think about unlocking human potential, one that sees: content as fundamentally linked to practice, people as having rich potential, and technology as one component of an empowered ecosystem.

Leveraging an ‘invite, enable, and release’ methodology for designing learning environments, our focus is on helping all people to thrive, with the content being learned as enabling them to realize opportunities and unlock futures that are meaningful to them. Multimedia games and game-enabled services are quite powerful in this regard, in that they can be used to cultivate interactions where what one knows, what one does, and who one becomes are all interrelated.

  • Further, they can be designed not simply as interventions, but as invitations in which players are positioned with agency to become “heroes” who make decisions that change the game world in ways that provide feedback about what it means to have consequence in the world, about the role of content in usefully interacting with the world, and themselves as individuals who can have impact on the world.

Beyond the links associated with the “Services” tab, we have put together resources to help others explore the power of game-enabled services for bringing about meaningful change.

Why Games – Well-designed games and game-infused experiences offer a delicate balance of challenges and rewards that can drive deep levels of engagement, enabling players to advance at their own pace, fail in a safe and supportive environment, acquire critical knowledge just-in-time, and iterate based on feedback.

New to Games – We believe strongly that actually playing video games and understanding the discourse around them are integral in identifying their impact. However, getting started with video games can be tough and confusing at first. We’ve put together a brief overview of games and resources to explore.

Impact Guides – Providing players, parents, and teachers the tools to understand play, inspire reflection, and stimulate transformation with the goal of building a more knowledgeable responsible, and empathetic citizenship. These guides can be used when playing designed games to maximize impact.

Impact Videos – The Center has sponsored, hosted, and provided a number of talks around the power of games for impact. Here are links to a number of those videos that can prove useful for individuals learning about using games for impact.