In an ever-changing world, where the economy and the job market are not what they were twenty years ago, continuing to teach our students the same skills we did twenty years ago is pointless. Times have changed and in order to prepare our children for the 21st century workforce we have to be committed to making the necessary changes to teach the skills they need for future jobs. Research shows that video games are one way that we can teach these essential skills. This literature review will focus on what skills will prepare them for the 21st century workforce, how video games and virtual worlds fit into this puzzle, and what MMORPGs can do to help.
21st Century Workforce Readiness
In 2006, a study on the readiness of new entrants into the U.S. workforce found that employers listed teamwork and collaboration as the second most critical skills needed in the workplace. The Casner-Lotto and Barrington (2006) study found that, “Three-quarters of respondents (74.7%) say Teamwork/Collaboration is “very important” for high school graduates' successful job performance; 82.7% for two-year college graduates, and 94.4% for four-year college graduates” (p. 24). A nationwide poll conducted by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2007) shows that 80% of voters feel that the skills students need to know for today’s 21st century jobs are much different than they were twenty years ago. The study went on to state that, “99% of voters say that teaching students a wide range of 21st century skills—including critical thinking and problem-solving skills, computer and technology skills, and communication and self-direction skills—is important to our country’s future economic success” (p.1).
Kay (2009) showed the importance of students leaving school with not only knowledge of the academic content, but also being prepared to work with others using 21st century skills that promote learning through doing, communication, and teamwork. According to Timm (2005), the businesses of tomorrow will require leadership skills from all of its employees. Students will need to be able to work together as a team, collaborate, learn from their mistakes, and value the benefits of continuing to learn. Bruett (2006) made a valid point that everyone can play a vital role in making sure that students are prepared to compete in the 21st century workforce and that “today’s students need to know how to apply their knowledge in a real-world environment” (p. 27).
Video Games/Virtual Worlds
In Gee’s (2005) research, he looked at different principles that support how good computer and video games can make learning better. He discussed how players are encouraged to interact and that they have the ability to make different things happen in the game. His principles show that games can be customizable and allow players to tailor the game to fit their style of play and learning. Good video games even allow players to create customizable characters that make players...