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The Five Ways that Playing Computer Games Could Lead to a Career in Manufacturing!

The manufacturing industry is arguably the backbone of any nation’s economy. Manufacturing represents about 11 percent of U.S. GDP and more than 8 percent of U.S. employment. As a result of Industry 4.0, the U.S. manufacturing industry is going through a paradigm shift, both in terms of technological developments and the skill sets required. In this blog, we take a look at the crossover between playing computer games and the transferable skills that could improve your chances of achieving a  successful career in manufacturing.

 

Bridging the skills gap.

We need to ensure that our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) workforce have the right skills and motivation to pursue careers in manufacturing, and look elsewhere for general skill sets that can be repurposed toward fulfilling careers in manufacturing. One potential approach to developing and attracting a new manufacturing workforce is to incorporate elements from computer games into manufacturing education, i.e., gamification of curriculum and training.

 

Traditionally used for recreation.

Computer games are traditionally used for recreation; however, they are known to actively engage users with notions such as immersion, flow, enjoyment, presence, motivation and game engagement. Among the U.S. population, game penetration has steadily grown over the past five years and is at a staggering 66 percent in 2018, with an average play of seven hours per week. If people are growing up playing games, why not let them learn in the same framework? Thankfully, women represent 41 percent of all the U.S. game-playing population in 2020, which makes gamification an attractive means to target them for manufacturing jobs.

 

Gamification of curriculum and training.

Through gamification of manufacturing curricula, the overall vision is to improve student engagement using active learning. This approach is universal and can be applied to all phases of education, i.e., K-12, higher education and training. Gamification provides a unique platform where students experience the freedom to explore, freedom to fail and receive instantaneous feedback, all of which make the learning fun and stress-free.

 

Repurposing skills that could lead to a career.

A critical aspect of gamification is to feed talent with up-to-date skills to the manufacturing industry. The customizable nature of gaming can be explored to deliver industry-specific knowledge, where students can get a feel for the skill sets required to be successful in an industry. There are a couple of ways to do so: universities and industry, together, can create a rich gamified curriculum to impart in-demand manufacturing skills and create a curriculum such as “manufacturing for non-majors,” which could be applicable for a wide talent pool (e.g., underemployed people).

 

Improving active learning within Industry 4.0.

Gamification of manufacturing education and training has the potential to address the anticipated skilled workforce deficit in manufacturing. The key idea is to capitalize on the gaming craze by creating games that provide an immersive experience to efficiently impart knowledge and the required skill sets. Students learn skills applicable to a manufacturing job while the game collects data and uses that data to target high performers for direct recruiting.

 

Overall, there are many ways in which playing the latest computer games could provide a basis for a successful career within manufacturing, not only in the US but all over the world.  This has since become a major concern during the COVID-19 pandemic when the U.S. was heavily dependent on other nations to provide essential medical supplies. Therefore, making U.S. manufacturing stronger is an urgent need, and we should all look at creative ways to bring about a change. By incorporating elements from computer gaming into manufacturing education, the possibilities for the growth of manufacturing are truly limitless.