Play

21ST CENTURY SKILLS - HOW GAMES PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE

A Change in Education Needs

As our society changed from industry-focused to service-focused and the younger workforce is becoming more and more comfortable with changing jobs, the value of memorization or picking up a trade have gone down. Instead a new set of skills have been identified as being crucial for success. Skills that grant the flexibility to adapt to any work culture and quickly pick up with the necessary tasks in a rapidly changing, digital environment. These have been dubbed the 21st century skills and they are as follow:

  1. Critical thinking: Finding solutions to problems
  2. Creativity: Thinking outside the box
  3. Collaboration: Working with others
  4. Communication: Talking to others

21st century skills

Why are they so important? In business (and many other areas) mastery in these skills can mean the difference between success and bankrupcy. Critical thinking is what allows people to take problems and turn them into opportunities. It helps also to figure out things when there isn't direct guidance at hand. Creativity is equally important as a means of adaptation. This skill empowers to see concepts in a different light, which leads to innovation. And innovation is key to adaptability and overall success. Collaboration means getting to work together, achieve compromises, and get the best possible results from solving a problem. The key element of collaboration is willingness. All participants have to be willing to sacrifice parts of their own ideas and adopt others to get results - that means understanding the idea "benefit of the group", and having to overcome the desire of personal benefit that would be harmful to it. Finally, communication is the glue that brings all of these educational qualities together. It’s crucial to learn how to effectively convey ideas among different personality types. Effective communication is also one of the most underrated soft skills. For many, it’s viewed as a “given,” and some companies may even take good communication for granted. But when employees communicate poorly, whole projects fall apart. No one can clearly see the objectives they want to achieve. No one can take responsibility because nobody’s claimed it.

Business

And now the key question: how can someone acquire the 21st century skills by playing Dungeons and Dragons (or any role playing game for that matter)? In RPGs players go through a series of scenes, where they have to overcome obstacles using their mental and social abilities. When faced with a challenge, the first important step is to critically analyze the situation, and identify what would be the possible ways to solve it (critical thinking). Often the best solution turns out to be something unexpected, something that goes beyond the standard frameworks at place, the fruit of thinking outside the box (creativity). RPGs are a team game by default. Often the personal motivations of player's characters get in conflict, but they won't be able to achieve them on their own, so they need to work together and compromise or risk failure for everyone (collaboration). And lastly: RPGs are all about communication. Whether players want to telegraph the actions of their characters, or interact with other characters in the game, there is no computer that will automate it based on some button clicks. They will have to be constantly talking, negotiating, convincing, to make sure their intentions are clear (communication).
Mistakes in business can cost millions, but in RPGs they are just complications that they will have to face and rectify later in the story. As such, RPGs can serve as a laboratory, where failure means growth, and experimentation can flourish - all while having fun. At Tokyo D&D we go the extra mile by formalizing this process, guiding the players and providing them structured feedback to better understand where and how to improve.

Laughing players

D&D it gave me a really strong background in imagination, storytelling, and understanding how to create tone and a sense of balance.

Jon Favreau -- actor/director

ACQUIRED SKILLS

CRITICAL THINKING

Analyzing information. Taking a decision from incomplete data.

CREATIVITY

Trying new things and solutions. Expressing the inner artist.

COLLABORATION

Working together to achieve a common goal.

COMMUNICATION

Telegraphing intention. Managing different personalities. Defusing conflicts.

MATH

Quick mental addition and subtraction. Basics of statistics and probability.

ENGLISH

Practical English conversation and writing, including uncommon words.

Give it a try. Whatever the preconception, you’ll forget about what other people think and just have fun.

Felicia Day -- actress/writer