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I-L-X Blog

Interactive Learning eXperiences

The holy grail of education is making learning experiences as attention getting and keeping as a videogame.  
I've been working on the idea for 30 years and we finally can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Follow our journey here!

John Beck - Monday, August 07, 2017

How do you describe something no one has ever described before?

I was a teenager the first time anyone described a Sony Walkman to me: they called it “a stereo that fits in your pocket and your ears.” I could not even begin to imagine. For those of us unfamiliar with portable cassette players, that’s about all that could be said. I’ve been facing a similar problem with Interactive Learning eXperiences (I-L-Xs). I call them videogames a lot, but they really are not. In fact, “experience” is the best a .. More...

John Beck - Monday, July 31, 2017

What if you threw a party to help poor farmers with engaging, accessible education – and everyone who came wanted to get rich instead?

If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you know I’ve been thinking about this product for thirty years. Somewhere about 25 years ago, a former student of mine … and really great man, Vichit Ith, approached me about helping a newly democratizing Cambodia become a successful country. He introduced me to another great guy, Chanthol Sun – currently Minister of Public Works and Transportation, and the three of us worked directly with the first democratically elected Pri .. More...

John Beck - Friday, July 21, 2017

What took the boob out of tube could take the un-cool out of school

There are exceptions to how bad television was in through the early 2000s, but for the most part, America’s favorite babysitter deserved every pan received. What TV did for democratizing and proliferating entertainment, online learning could do for education. Even two decades into its existence, e-education has lots of promise, and many students enrolled – many viewers, if you will – but the quality is low even compared to its often flawed and inconsistent face-to-face alte .. More...

John Beck - Friday, July 07, 2017

Education should not be a gild…but it is

There is clearly good education and bad education—and I think we should do everything we can to rid ourselves of the bad stuff. But in my view, many of the standards and accreditation practices around higher education institutionalize some really egregious, outmoded practices. I’ve worked in dozens of universities in my quest to find a good one, and have found that administrators and accreditors share a common background: they are not particularly great teachers or inn .. More...

John Beck - Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Apple Pie, Fireworks, and Cheating in School

“Every student cheats,” a wise mentor once told me, “so build ‘cheating’ into how you teach.” I’ve come to learn that not every student cheats all the time, but somewhere along the way, everyone does something that they know is a little … let’s say … “corner cutting.” This is one of the big problems inherent in trying to build a videogame to replace a school course. On this July 4th (the date of my writing th .. More...

John Beck - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Education Curve ... and the Itinerant Professor

For thirty years I have moved as a professor from school to school trying to find one that was really changing the way that higher education is delivered. I’ve been disappointed at every turn. I explained this away as the natural outcome of bureaucracy, tenure systems, or our gild-like accreditation apparati. But I’ve come to believe that the real problem is mindset…and the start of bigger fix may be as simple as adopting a different mental model. Education, through  .. More...

John Beck - Monday, June 26, 2017

The education "game": why hasn’t it happened already?

Why hasn’t anyone figured out a way to teach a whole course with a game? It would seem the most obvious thing in the world. And as I mentioned in my first blog entry, I’ve been thinking about this for thirty years. More than ten years ago, Mitchell Wade and I wrote a book call Got Game (and later The Kids are Alright) on the implications of growing up playing videogames. Michael Crow, the brand new President of Arizona State University at that time, asked me to join him  .. More...

John Beck - Friday, June 23, 2017

This is what I'm supposed to do for the rest of my life?

As part of my PhD program in Organizational Behavior, I was enrolled in the first year of Harvard Business School’s MBA program. The OB course was not until late in the school year, but I was so excited to finally see the way I would be expected to teach for the rest of my career. Part way into that course, I have a distinct memory of the professor in the “pit”—the bottom of a tiered classroom filled with 90 students. The professor was engaged in a role-play exercise  .. More...