Here's how game-based learning is impacting higher education, like this man using a virtual reality headset.

8 things pushing the growth of game-based learning

A new analysis takes a look at the innovative technologies and marketplace developments supporting game-based learning and its place in higher education

Revenue for game-based learning and education is projected to reach more than $24 billion by 2024, according to a new market forecast.

Metaari’s 2019-2024 Global Game-based Learning Market study, released by Serious Play Conference, notes that growth in AI game-based learning also is expected to skyrocket, analysts say.

The report notes that game-based learning is defined as a knowledge transfer method using “game play” involving some form of competition (against
oneself or others) and a reward/penalty system that essentially functions as an assessment method to quantify mastery.

Related content: University students who played this game scored higher in calculus

Game-based learning, though, is quite different from gamification. In gamification, game-like features such as badges and points are tacked onto traditional education content. Gamified courses are not games, but legacy products with gaming artifacts.

Advances in game-based learning and AI

“AI is a relatively new type of learning game that has just come on the market in the last three years,” says Sam S. Adkins, CEO and chief researcher at Metaari. “…The global growth rate for AI-based learning games is a robust 34.6 percent. That suggests AI revenues will climb to just over $800 million by 2024. The growth rate in the U.S. for AI products is dramatically higher–a breathtaking 56.5 percent.”

The five-year compound annual growth rate for educational games is directly correlated to the ongoing innovations integrated into next-generation educational games, including advances in psychometrics, neuroscience, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and AI.

“Rapid advances in AI technology are profoundly impacting the global game-based learning market,” according to the report. “Extraordinary products are now flooding the market. AI has fundamentally altered the competitive landscape of the serious games industry.”

These AI innovations coincide with the innovative advances in AR, VR, and location-based mixed reality. The innovations are also rooted in advances in child development, psychometrics, neuroscience, behavioral science, cognitive learning, and educational psychology. New findings from these disciplines are now incorporated into cutting-edge learning games for children with special needs.

Advances in technology and science advances also are having a dramatic impact on the game-based learning industry.

There are eight primary drivers, each one impacting the rest, that are impacting the global educational game market. These catalysts include:
1. AI alters the competitive landscape
2. Mixed reality learning games in high demand across the planet
3. Historic levels of private investment flowing to game-based learning companies across the planet
4. Large scale global distribution agreements between serious game developers and global distributors
5. Intense mergers and acquisitions activity as large companies acquire game-based learning firms validating the market
6. The booming global consumer demand for mobile serious games
7. The rapid uptake of game-based learning in the corporate segments across the globe
8. The availability of inexpensive easy-to-use rapid development tools and the proliferation of online marketplaces selling premade digital 3D models, VR environments, and pre-trained AI models

There are also secondary catalysts spurring game-based learning’s rapid growth, such as the global rollouts of very fast 5G networks and the impending implementation of the Internet of Things. There are also potential secondary catalysts like blockchain that could impact the industry in the next five years.

The growth rate for serious games in the higher education and tertiary segment is a healthy 15.4 percent, according to the report. Business simulation games that incorporate role playing are now common in sales, finance, business, and marketing programs in higher education institutions across the planet. The demand for business simulation games is quite high, which could encourage both the use of game-based learning in higher education and prompt students to pursue majors leading them to careers in business simulation game development.

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Laura Ascione

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