Building an esports curriculum: 6 principles for success
Tailor your program to your school’s needs

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Scholastic esports programs are growing in popularity and participation. Like other educational programs, esports requires the structure of an established curriculum to ensure it follows guidelines, operates within a framework, and achieves scholastic goals. And it should be tailored to your school’s unique needs, objectives, and student population.

It can seem like a daunting challenge to create an effective and sustainable curriculum as part of your overall esports program, knowing where to start, what’s needed, what your goals should be, and how your curriculum will help achieve them. Let’s walk through some requirements and valuable resources for achieving an effective esports curriculum.

Essential elements of an effective curriculum

To assemble a coherent, meaningful esports program that provides educational value, your curriculum should:

  1. Be accredited – Every state has a curriculum overseer to ensure schools achieve established state instructional standards in science, engineering, math, and so forth. An esports curriculum must adhere to similar criteria, supporting applicable regional or national standards such as Common Core or Career and Technical Education (CTE). This is particularly important when esports funding revenues are tied to accreditation. Otherwise, you may forfeit these funds.
  2. Offer graduation credits – Participation in a fully accredited scholastic esports program should apply credits toward graduation. It should also fulfill requirements toward core skill sets in disciplines such as science, technology, and mathematics.
  3. Involve all stakeholders and the community – Scholastic esports requires collaboration and support from all impacted parties, including students, faculty administrators, parents, and others with a stake in shaping the character of young people. There should be free sharing of ideas, methods, and sources to ensure the curriculum satisfies the varied needs of all stakeholders. K-12 programs and their higher education counterparts can forge mutually beneficial alliances. For example, you may want to invite local college coaches to help train and teach younger students. Consider recruiting local businesses to support your esports program, expanding esports into a community effort.
  4. Bridge scholastic esports to real-world counterparts – Your curriculum should build on the skill sets required for esports career opportunities. A well-crafted esports program puts students on track to obtain positions in event production technology, infrastructure, engineering, gaming software development, marketing, music, and more.
  5. Include counselor-specific curriculum – School counselors channel students toward their most promising study and career choices, making them key stakeholders for esports. It’s vital that these life influencers understand the full value of scholastic esports career advancement opportunities, especially for dual credit and dual enrollment courses when students can earn credits toward graduation or college. SHI advises schools to create a specific counselor-focused training curriculum – something we offer as part of our esports practice.
  6. Remain current – Esports is constantly evolving with new software titles, hardware innovations, shifting popular interests, and a fresh crop of students each year; consequently, your esports curriculum must adapt to ever-changing dynamics. For it to remain engaging and relevant, you must build in the flexibility to assess and revise regularly.

Finally, an esports curriculum should uniquely reflect the school, its mission, and its student needs.

Utilize existing curriculum resources and make them your own

The list of requirements for an effective esports curriculum might seem overwhelming. But here’s the good news: you have many resources available to you.

One option is to create a highly tailored curriculum from scratch. However, that approach is time- and resource-intensive – and unnecessary. Rather than straining already limited budgets and staff hours, explore ready-made curricula as a starting point. Then, you can fine-tune it to meet your requirements and objectives. You will find a range of organizations, including SHI, that offer pre-existing curricula programs that have been crafted through years of experience in the esports market, K-12, and higher education.

Was it created by educators, for educators?

This is the most critical question to ask when evaluating curriculum packages.

Rising to that professional standard is what distinguishes those programs with the highest effectiveness and credibility.

Engage with expert advisors to simplify the esports curriculum process

Whether you create your own or modify a pre-existing package, producing an esports curriculum takes time. To simplify and strengthen your process, consider engaging with expert advisors such as SHI’s dedicated esports and education team.

Our esports team consists of active classroom instructors who are in tune with today’s esports market and career opportunities. We have developed an array of educational and technical curricular solutions that can be customized to specific needs of any given school through a comprehensive discovery and consulting process. And we value continuing partnerships with our education customers so we can help you monitor and maintain curricular effectiveness.

In the end, effective scholastic esports is all about good teaching practices

One measure of an esports program’s value is the quality of its curriculum. Whether self-created, turnkey, or hybrid, it’s essential to conform to state requirements while reflecting the unique flavor of your school.

We can’t wait to help you build an esports curriculum that will set up your students for career success! Let’s work together to elevate your program. Contact our team at esports@shi.com today – and learn more about our comprehensive practice by visiting shi.com/esports and checking out our new esports ebook.