Teacher and Head of Education, British Esports Association
Sector Manager for Esports, Business, Enterprise and Law at Pearson
Esports is more than just gaming, it gives learners skills which can be used throughout their careers.
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding esports, which is the term used to describe multiplayer competitive video gaming. The truth is, when it comes to education, it presents an effective approach for developing transferable skills and keeping learners engaged.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is that esports involves teams playing against teams, that is, humans versus humans,” says Tom Dore, Teacher and Head of Education at British Esports Association. “There are also spectator elements to it: stadiums are filled out and there are shoutcasters and analysts who commentate on the games. Professional teams now have nutritionists and psychologists in the way traditional sports teams do.”
Teaching transferrable skills
Esports is a useful way of teaching transferable skills in the way that traditional sports do, skills that can be used in the workplace. “These include teamwork, communication, leadership, decision making, and problem solving,” says Tom. “It is also good for students who don’t represent their school externally in any other way. My school team of six plays Overwatch and four of them don’t do traditional sports. Senior leaders and stakeholders are beginning to understand that virtual friendships are as important as those in real life.”
Esports have an important role to play elsewhere. “We run projects in Alternative Provision schools that support young people with a range of additional needs, for example, students on the autism spectrum or with complex learning or physical difficulties.”
Senior leaders and stakeholders are beginning to understand that virtual friendships are as important as those in real life.
Enhancing career prospects
Laura Hall is Sector Manager for Esports, Business, Enterprise and Law at Pearson, the first awarding organisation in the UK to award qualifications in esports. “Working with teachers and the BEA, Pearson developed a suite of career-focused qualifications,” she explains. “We have worked closely in the design and development of the qualifications to ensure they meet the needs of the industry. There are four sizes of Level 3 esports qualification, from the equivalent of a single A Level to three. There are also three at Level 2, which are the equivalent of one to three GCSEs.”
An esports qualification can offer an entry into many sectors, including events management, the Services (like the RAF), and the gaming industry.
Laura concludes, “Universities such as Chichester, Nottingham Trent and Staffordshire now offer degrees in esports. There is a need for the skills involved in esports and one of the key things is to engage learners. It is a career-focused qualification.”