gamification career

Kaplan U. weaves gamification into career services network

Online tool makes finding a job and building a career motivating for students and alumni

Kaplan University has incorporated gamification into its career services network. Gamification applies game design elements to non-game activities to drive stronger student engagement.

“Finding a job is a job and it involves a lot of hard work and determination. By incorporating gamification features into our career services network, our goal is to make that process more enjoyable, engaging and successful for our students and alumni,” said Jennifer Lasater, Vice President of Employer and Career Services for Kaplan University.

Students are introduced to CareerNetwork during their first term at Kaplan University. When entering the network, students see an individualized job feed based on their program of study and geographical location. They can apply for jobs directly from the feed and organize their search with the Career Services staff. Students start by creating their own avatar—a virtual representation of themselves. They receive points and advance levels for compiling personal information that in turns helps the University’s Career Services team learn more about them and their job search. This helps the team provide more effective coaching.

At literally any time of day or night students may engage in ‘quests’ to gain skills and build professional abilities, represented by badges and points. Examples of quests include creating an ‘elevator speech,’ reading and posting career-related articles in their field of study, conducting informational interviews, creating resumes and writing cover letters, building a social media presence, connecting with other students and employers, and applying for jobs for which they are well suited. Students can also participate in challenges such as ‘resume showdowns’ at which they learn how recruiters review resumes and the importance of customizing a resume to a position.

CareerNetwork also provides a platform for the University’s Career Services team to host employer spotlights, which are virtual information sessions with employers designed to give students an opportunity to learn more about the various companies for which they might want to work. “We understand that cost per hire is important to employers and we’re happy to offer employer interactions with Career Services at no cost to our employers” stated Lasater. “It’s an effective way to reach a pool of well-qualified candidates.”

CareerNetwork is one of the many ways the University helps its students become career ready. In addition to one-on-one career support and guidance such as resume reviews, mock interviews, interest assessments and job leads found in traditional career services models, they also include moving towards a competency-based learning model and giving all its students a personalized Competency Report that provides assessments of a student’s skill and knowledge demonstrated throughout his or her program(s) of study at the University.

Launched in 2011, Kaplan University’s CareerNetwork provides real-time 24/7 support for job seekers. This includes providing customized job feeds to students based on their program of study and geographical area along with additional tools that help students access their interest. Since its debut, CareerNetwork has hosted more than 165,000 Kaplan University students and graduates.

Kaplan University partnered with High Voltage Software, a leading independent game development studio, to develop the gamification elements in CareerNetwork.

“Kaplan University approached us with a challenge that we couldn’t say no to,” said Kerry Ganofsky, High Voltage Software CEO and Founder. “Collaboration between a software company and an educator to advance the job search experience with gamification is a unique approach that we wanted to be a part of.”

Laura Ascione