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Fragments II: micro stories about the learning business

The Gamification of Admissions: Are You Ready to Play?

This story began nearly three years ago, when we started to re-imagine admissions as a learning experience for families.

Little did we realise back then, the journey we had embarked upon and how much we would have to learn.

In our quest to discover the core of the admissions task, we found ourselves chipping away at what we knew and designing a game in which each member of the prospective family played a crucial role.

Two years ago, the game was nothing more than a set of twenty-four cards stuck onto a wall. Each member of the family were invited to identify what was important to them when choosing a school - and then, as a family, they were asked to put the cards in order of priority.

Are friends or the quality of the playground more important than teachers or examination results?

The answer often depended upon who you asked.

The point is, the family were having a conversation that they hadn't had before - and every member of the family had something to contribute.

The point is, also, we were learning to listen and not feeling compelled to speak.

A photograph of a prospective parents playing the game in the ISB experience room
The ISB Experience Room: An interactive experience for families choosing a school.

Looking back over the past three years, it might appear that we were consciously advocating the "gamification" of admissions, applying video-game principles to improve user experience and user engagement. However, this would be to claim far too much. Maybe we had simply stumbled upon a good idea.

Three years on, we have swapped our laminated cards for a state of the art Experience Room - surely one of a kind in the world of admissions - and we are still developing the experience as we go.

We don't know precisely where this is taking us, except we do know that it changed the way we thought about school admissions, forever.

So are you ready to play?



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