Bridging the Opportunity Divide

How This Company Is Using Gaming To Teach Job Skills

December 15, 2014
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How This Company Is Using Gaming To Teach Job Skills
Cognotion aims to use gaming to teach job skills to young workers. Martijn van Dalen/Flikr
Forget training programs and reach for the controller.

It’s a common belief that young people play too many video games. Interestingly, one company thinks it’s found a way to tap that love of gaming to fight youth unemployment.

Cognotion founders Jonathon Dariyanani and Joanna Schneier knew something must be done to combat employee apathy and unemployment. Their unique solution? A series of software programs that combats employee turnover through the use of interactive games and simulation trials. The software teaches the hard skills required for the job, but also soft skills, such as how to convey empathy to annoyed customers or to analyze situational clues to solve a problem.

In 2013, 73 million youths were unemployed worldwide, according to the International Labor Organization, and in July the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 14 percent youth unemployment rate compared to 6.3 percent overall. Cognotion’s founders felt like something needed to be done.

“We really felt that after waiting for 10 years for disruption to the system, that a lot of the human potential which could be unlocked through the use of educational technology hadn’t yet [been invented],” Dariyanani tells Next City.

Right now, Cognotion has software for hotel clerks, government workers, retail cashiers and customer service representatives, and recently developed a medical game regarding the Ebola virus to train 20,000 doctors and nurses.

“We find that when we present the same industry-specific, job-specific information that’s contained in a training manual to somebody in the form of a game or with a mentor, it increases absorption, comprehension and retention,” Dariyanani explains to Next City. “We believe these sorts of products provide trackable, actionable and immediate educational benefits, so you’re meeting the learner where they are.”

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