The value of a college diploma or degree in business has been losing ground for some time now.
Rising tuition costs have made college education unaffordable for many.
What’s worse is the high number of people who drop out of college while still having to repay student loans.
Despite a 2,000% rise in tuition over the past few decades, the quality of education delivery has not improved.
The same old-school teaching methods are still a common practice— lectures, textbooks, case studies, and quizzes.
Even with the availability of video meetings and advanced technology, these resources are rarely used in innovative ways.
It’s hard to find another product or service that has become 20 times more expensive while offering less value.
I’ve been working to help schools improve student learning for over 20 years.
I design educational games and simulations to teach people about business, money, and health using the power of gamification.
My programs are very realistic, much like flight simulators are used to train pilots.
I’ve had some success, reaching millions of learners around the world through thousands of schools, universities, nonprofits, and businesses. I also work with major companies that most people would recognize.
Despite this success, most of what I experience is frustration.
Frustration at discovering so many instructors and trainers who do not want to change how they teach.
And instructors who fear even the most basic of technologies.
I also discover motivated instructors that do want to change but encounter resistance from administrators.
But there is one thing that is more powerful than the status quo — the Internet.
The Internet transforms, or destroys, every industry and process that gets in the way.
And then comes gaming — an industry that will soon surpass movies and music and sports combined.
The human energy invested in playing games is staggering.
And game-based learning has become more widely accepted as highly effective.
The result is that the combination of Internet and gaming is going to transform, or destroy, many business schools.
I don’t know how long it will take to happen broadly, but it’s already started.
It was around the year 1999 when I first started approaching schools to adopt my original GoVenture business simulation (see original screenshot below).
Back then, I couldn’t use the word “game” to describe our program.
The view at the time was that games were for young people to waste time at home, they were not for use in schools.
So, I used words like “experiential learning” and “simulations” to get in the door— and ultimately make the sale once instructors experienced the power of game-based learning with their students.
I have since sold millions of dollars of my educational games and simulations to every type of organization you can imagine, from schools, universities, economic development organizations, prisons, and Fortune 500 companies.
And I can now confidently use the word “game” (usually).
Change is happening in education and business schools are the most vulnerable.
Why business schools? Because you do not need a college diploma or degree to have a successful career in business.
Certainly, those credentials can open some doors.
But they are not required like they are for engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers, and other such professions that are regulated by government or industry associations.
A career in business may also provide the fastest and highest levels of success, even for high school dropouts.
Check out these school dropouts. And, consider that mega-entertainers Oprah and Jay-Z made their big money in business, not entertainment.
Major companies like Google, Apple, IBM, Costco, Hilton, Bank of America, and others are no longer requiring degrees for jobs, and are instead focusing on skills and past experience.
Further accelerating change has been the COVID pandemic forcing schools to move online.
This exposed how poorly schools use technology for learning.
And, it has permanently changed student expectations and choices.
There are now perhaps over 10,000 postsecondary institutions around the world offering online options to compete for student tuition money.
Most provide the same courses and programs.
And everything starts to look the same when online.
The prestigious universities will continue to win, regardless of what they do, because their students are paying for membership in their exclusive alumni club. That has value.
But what about the other 99% — will they choose to compete on price in a race for the bottom?
The only remaining option is improving their curricula to offer a better student learning experience.
And for business education, that means adopting experiential learning, most likely through games and simulations.
Because you have to “do” business to “learn” business.
The reality, however, is that the bureaucracy inherent in most educational institutions will not allow them to move quickly enough.
The Internet waits for no one.
And entrepreneurs are already building solutions to change how education is delivered, measured, assessed, and credentialed.
The concept of spending years in school and lots of money before you can start a career in business or start your own business does not make sense when there are faster, more affordable, and more inspiring options.
I’ve already launched a program called businessXP— the world’s first and only fully game-based experiential training for aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs. I believe it to be a viable alternative to business school — and it’s 10x faster and more affordable.
And I will continue to work with wonderful instructors around the world that truly want to improve learning for their students using experiential learning through games and simulations.
But, I’m not optimistic about the future of many universities and colleges.
The competitive advantage that universities hold with degrees and diplomas will keep them winning students for some time.
But the legacy overhead and glacially-slow ability to change will ultimately be the demise for many.
I'm Mathew Georghiou and I write about how games are transforming education and learning. I design educational resources used by millions around the world.
Follow me here and at Georghiou.com