INSiGHT: Dreams as an Educational Tool in Work-Based Learning

By Luke Hemming 03.06.2020 1

Working in the education sector for 15 years, both at a classroom level, and through curriculum development and management, it has always been at the forefront to push learning through technologies on both a professional and personal level. This drive is particular prevalent when looking for ways to fully engage students in work based learning.

For a little background on the type of students regularly coming through the doors of work based learning, most come from a low level of education, often with learning and behavioural issues. WBL looks to raise aspirations of learners and show them that although circumstances have often led them to minimal qualifications before the age of 16, often due to a standard school practices not being the right 'fit,' they are still capable of attaining both a good level of qualifications and employment in the future.

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 Confidence is one of the major factors that learners feel will prevent them from reaching their full potential, and this can often lead to a lack of engagement in lessons and activities. One of the most vital aspects of delivery, is therefore ensuring sessions are pitched at the right level for the learner, and are also engaging and relevant. In the Information Technology sector, Dreams by Sony Interactive Entertainment is being implemented as a learning and development tool to cover these most vital of outcomes.
After research conducted through learner interviews and feedback through employability sessions, a majority feel that the skills they would require to work in the sector they would like are of too high a level for them to understand. This quickly leads to disengagement and a lack of interest in learning even the most basic of these skills. When applying for the course almost all state games design as the field they would like to work in some capacity. Familiarity is the main bridge to overcome these issues, so their confidence can be improved in short incremental steps and lead to bigger projects using the systems and techniques that are seen as standard in the industry.
Dreams was an obvious choice to begin using to start the process, All learners in the IT sector I run are gamers in some capacity, and all can cite previous experience holding a PlayStation controller through the years. Instantly, learners are not only curious about how this familiar tool can be used outside of a standard gaming scenario, and how it could potentially lead to the basic ideas and concepts needed to work in the gaming industry. Engagement is instant with the fear of unfamiliarity removed, by using a system all are familiar with that is relevant to their age group. Most have also not had access to control through motion controls which also promotes interest.

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Early sessions are simple, with introductions and sessions focusing on exploration of what is possible using the software through the browse section. Not only does this introduce the concept of other assists that can be used, but also inspires learners that their ideas can become a reality. Sessions and session plans are then written to work off these initial impressions and thoughts.
Learners are asked to first create a basic level by hand that includes assets, goals, and a definitive start and end on paper, as well as justify their reasoning for their decisions. Dreams is then used to bring these ideas to fruition. With the option to either use the initial tutorials to create all aspects or taking advantage of created assets for lower level learners, all are included and can create an initial project they can feel proud of, regardless of ability. Modules further expand at the learner's own pace, with character designs, additional levels, and assets all being created physically on pen and paper, with full written explanations before being fully realised using the software.
More capable learners are encouraged to work their way through the extensive tutorials available, in order to further enhance their knowledge, and come to their own conclusions on how they feel their designs could be improved. also is used as a massive learning tool in this manner, not only allowing learners to continue their development at their own pace, but also allowing them to become part of a larger community as a whole, with Sony providing accessible content creation and support, through not only the website, but also various social media platforms. With this support on hand, learners feel they are able to create with no penalties as they have support of tutors in house and a larger whole outside of the classroom.

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In conclusion, Dreams is utilised to act as a stepping point to the larger world of game design, where you learn the basic concepts in an enjoyable and relatable way, with it being easy to control, and quick to reward, and confidence will be gained to achieve further. Learners no longer see the barrier into the world of games design thanks to Sony, and can feel confident in their understanding of the basic concepts when looking to the future, whether that is employment, or further education on the subject.​

Box art for Dreams

Media Molecule


Sony Interactive Entertainment





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This sounds brilliant! I've heard lots of positivity surrounding Dreams, but sadly it doesn't seem to have taken off... and I think Nintendo stepping in to have some creations removed won't have helped matters. Great insight into how to use this in a different setting, Luke!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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