Wired is reporting that the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency is using three custom designed video games to teach it security analysts.
Wired.com had an opportunity to play all three games, Rapid Onset, Vital Passage and Sudden Thrust. The titles may conjure images of blitzkrieg, but the games themselves are actually a surprisingly clever and occasionally surreal blend of education, humor and intellectual challenge, aimed at teaching the player how to think.
Each game only takes about 90 minutes to three hours, and has multiple story lines that branch depending on a player’s actions. All DIA analysts will eventually play them, from rookies to old hands who will use them for refresher training. The DIA has about 2,000 analysts, but the agency has been tasked with training another 2,000 in the U.S. military’s combatant commands, many of whom work overseas far from training facilities. With classroom space and instructors at a premium, Bennett estimates that every hour spent training with a game saves one hour of classroom instruction, plus travel time and expense.
Its great that serious bodies like the DIA are using games but I can’t help wondering what proof they have that they work. Have they done studies where some students did traditional classroom learning whilst others learnt through games and then compared test results? If they have, I would love to see that data.