The problem: there is a limited awareness and understanding of how to commercialise board games based on social sciences research.
Many researchers in SocSci are already producing successful, engaging resources for game-based learning, but hit a roadblock when it comes to the challenge of disseminating their product beyond their own institution and generating income. Educational board games based on research are overwhelmingly STEM oriented, likely due to clear avenues to market.
In SocSci, these avenues are less well-known, and any social sciences game that does get commercialised is likely by accident rather than by design.
The solution: the development of resources and tools for game-based learning in the social sciences, using real world commercialisation experience, as a case study.
The Educational Games team devised a two-phase plan to increase awareness and understanding of how to commercialise academic/university-generated games based on social sciences research.
- Phase I – support the commercialisation of Brave New World (BNW), a game based on law and human rights research from Manchester and Nottingham Trent University. Learnings from this process were then used to inform and develop resources for Phase II.
- Phase II – the development of an Ed Tech Games Hub that will provide space for a community to engage with resources and tools specifically designed to inform academics, professional services, and industry on the process of the commercialisation of board games based on social sciences research.
The Board Games team has noted key areas for next steps:
• The team at Ludic Labs are continuing to deliver workshops to get social scientists thinking about how they can bring their research to wider audiences. For example – an upcoming workshop in Manchester around escape rooms and talking with people how they can think about designing games around their research in the real world.
• Populate the virtual Hub (Ludic Labs) with resources and tools to help academics commercialise their research into game-based learning opportunities.
• The post associated with facilitating the labs has switched over to Glasgow. The Game Hub coordinator is working on sustainability of the Hub and assessing other academic games.
How can Aspect members get involved?
Aspect members can sign up to the Ludic Labs platform through the following domain: https://www.ludiclabs. co.uk/. On the LL home page, they can download a PDF that provides guidance on best practice. The Labs launched July 1st with an attendance of 40 academics across Aspect institutions. Two workshops to be hosted by Manchester and Nottingham Trent University respectively will give attendees further opportunity to network with each other and industry vets over the platform.