Video games have a stigma around them as a waste of time or as a simple pastime; however, according to a study done at the University of California in 2018, certain video games can teach executive function skills commonly used in academics and the workplace.

Executive function skills are the skills we use to (1) set, manage, and follow through on goals, (2) focus on things such as shifting from one task to another, (3) prevent making gut reactions in the wrong situation, and (4) track patterns and tasks. Studies show that children with strong executive function skills perform better on average in middle school and high school than those that don’t have these skills.

But how do you improve these skills? It seems like video games may be the answer. When the right types of games are delivered in a structured format, we begin to see cognitive improvements in a variety of areas. Esports games like League of Legends, for example, focus on tracking movement patterns, moving constantly from task to task, and managing large workloads constantly. Structured video game play may be the next big leap in cognitive skills training and education.