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What on Earth is Going on? is a podcast for the curious, where small talk is banned and tangents are prized. Strap yourself in for genuine dialogues with people who think deeply and are ready to tackle the big questions, such as broadcaster Terry O'Reilly, economist Miles Corak and journalist Jessica Vomiero.

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Sep 27, 2019

We often see video games as a form of consumer entertainment—an escape from reality, not that different from watching TV or reading a book. But the structure of games are perhaps fundamental to what it means to be human. By playing them, we can learn to be and rehearse as doctors, pilots, engineers, lawyers, and more. We might also overcome real conditions, such as depression and addiction.

Ben has a powerful and provocative conversation with gaming, gamification and learning expert David Chandross.

About the Guest

David Chandross holds masters degrees in both cognitive neuroscience and higher education and a doctorate in curriculum design. As one of the founders of the field of gamification he has not only developed numerous games for training in industry and universities, but also participated in broad research projects in this field.

His original work was on neuroscience, pharmacology, and the role of attention in the brain. This transformed into an interest in education for the health professions, where he held the rank of Dean, Assistant Dean, and Program Coordinator across sectors like medical technology management, medical education and allied health professions training. He developed an interest in the use of simulations in medical education which then focused on the design of games to use simulations effectively in undergraduates. After participating as a researcher in the $3 million dollar SAGE gamification grant at Simon Fraser University he worked with organizations across many sectors to improve learning through serious game design.

Since that time Dr. Chandross has designed game systems for improving memory in seniors, training health professionals for management of the frail elderly, the design of instruction for the financial sector, cyber-security professionals, Elections Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Faculty of Medicine at University of Toronto, Baycrest Health Sciences, Ryerson University, the National University of Health Sciences, ARC Business Solutions, the energy sector, the College of Family Physicians, Ontario and Humber College.

His current research focus is in two areas: (1) The treatment of memory loss in seniors with dementia using streaming digital technology and (2) the optimization of virtual reality and immersive technology in learning. He is the program coordinator for seniors’ off campus education at Ryerson University and is active in the development of advanced systems for training health professionals as part of the E-Campus and Contact North initiatives for the province of Ontario.

Mentioned in this Episode

The Quote of the Week

“A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we’re good at (or getting better at) and enjoy. In other words, gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.”

- From Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal