GoGo Labs Becomes First Boise State Start-up Company

Reprinted from Boise State University Update

Boise State University has joined an elite group of research universities that have a launched a start-up company after licensing an online gaming platform developed by university faculty to a new venture, GoGo Labs, that will introduce the software product to the marketplace.

GoGo Labs founder Lisa Dawley, a national expert on learning environments and a former professor and chair in Boise State’s Department of Educational Technology, developed the software with educational technology faculty member Chris Haskell while at Boise State. Collaborating with the university’s Office of University and Industry Ventures (UIV) in the Division of Research and Economic Development, Dawley and Haskell worked to refine, test and market the software product that provides technology-based learning opportunities.

“Boise State thrives on innovation,” said Bob Kustra, president of Boise State, “and this launch is a great byproduct of that atmosphere and the mechanisms now in place to encourage entrepreneurship on our campus. And what a great new teaching tool. As any parent or grandparent knows, today’s kids ‘get’ games.”

The licensing agreement is “a great example of the technology transfer program and faculty working together to strategically plan and support technology innovation and commercialization in the Treasure Valley,” Dawley added. “The spin-out is a culmination of two years of development and planning, and it feels fantastic to finally be at this point, working to support the ongoing evolution of the educational system in Idaho and beyond.”

GoGo Labs delivers quest-based online learning experiences and other learning technologies that are already bringing in business locally, nationally and internationally. Approximately 95 percent of revenue generated comes from out of state. While the initial market is focused on individual teachers and groups of teachers, an enterprise platform addressing other markets, including educational organizations, corporate training delivery and health management, will be developed later this year.

The software product is aimed at increasing learning engagement and performance outcomes through technology. In today’s culture, students transition seamlessly between online play and online learning. GoGo Labs builds on this familiarity with gamification — the use of game mechanics and thinking in non-gaming contexts — to increase understanding and retention.

Dawley worked with UIV to procure software industry contacts and feedback that led to beta testing and the development of the software commercially available today. UIV also provided marketing resources through Boise State’s Innovation Team, comprising graduate students who produced market assessments and commercialization plans. UIV offers similar programs and services to all university faculty.

Supporting faculty to form a startup company and commercialize university intellectual property is one example of ongoing and focused actions by Boise State’s Division of Research and Economic Development to cultivate research and the related long-term economic benefits of technology transfer.

About quest-based learning

Instead of courses consisting mainly of textbook learning and lectures, classes built around gamification boost student engagement by requiring them to select “quests” and progress at their own pace through a series of educational activities. Along the way, participants earn experience points, levels and badges that translate to a grade.

Quests are online learning activities that address the core of the subject matter. Quests can range from listening to a podcast or watching a short video to partnering with a classmate for discussion or writing a short essay. As students complete each quest, they can level up to new assignments on their journey toward an “A.” Early research is demonstrating that students remain more persistent in quest-based learning compared to the traditional assignments, with over 95 percent of students receiving “A’s,” and over 65 percent who continue to quest after a course is over.

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