Untapped Potential: Using Video Games for Safety Training?

From trackball arcade games to mobile apps, video games have evolved tremendously over the past few decades. While their entertainment value keeps rising, video games also are developing other helpful uses. Earning your degree in video game development does not automatically mean you have to create action-packed “shoot ‘em up” games for your entire career. These days, you could use your skills to create games that train workers how to respond to emergencies, which is exactly what students at Miami University are working on.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Safety Training

When an alarm goes off in a hospital, there is no room for error. Everyone on staff must immediately respond, evacuating patients according to predetermined plans. It’s not a simple process. The staff must know which medications are needed for each patient and which exit they are required to use. Training is a lengthy process and hospital staff at Cincinnati Children’s wanted to make sure they were preparing all staff members as thoroughly as possible, so they turned to Miami University for help.

Miami University’s Virtual Creation

Miami University is ranked within the top 30 schools nationwide that offer video game development as a course of study. Students there are now helping Cincinnati Children’s Hospital prepare for every emergency.

They are building a virtual replica of the hospital. Staff members will put on goggles and immerse themselves into the virtual world, where emergency drills including a fire or a tornado will take place. Staff will have to answer questions, virtually pick up items they need and choose escape routes.

Once staff undergoes the virtual training, a real life evacuation will take place and the hospital will measure the effectiveness of the new system. 

How Video Games Will Benefit Society

This is just one example of the many avenues video game developers may be able to pursue in coming decades. Video games, though long thought to contribute to society’s “dumbing down,” may now be called upon to improve skills and ultimately save lives. With the growing field of virtual reality opening up even further, newly-graduated video game developers can tap into the field’s growing potential.