Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 9

Serious Games Related Abstracts

9 Serious Game as a Performance Assessment Tool that Reduces Examination Anxiety

Authors: Kamal Bijlani, R. Ajith


Over the past few years, tremendous evolutions have happened in the educational discipline. Serious game, which is regarded as one of the most important inventions is being widely for learning purposes. Serious games can be used to negate the various drawbacks that the current evaluation and assessment methods have, like examination anxiety and the lack of proper feedback given to the learners. This paper proposes serious game as a tool for conducting evaluations and assessments. The examination anxiety faced by learners can be reduced, as they are provided with a game as an examination. The serious game also tracks learner’s actions, records them and provide feedback based on the predefined set of actions according to the course objectives. The appropriate feedback given to the learner will help in developmental activities in the learning process.

Keywords: Evaluation, Serious Games, Performance Assessment, examination anxiety, performance feedback

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8 MEAL Project–Modifying Eating Attitudes and Actions through Learning

Authors: E. Oliver, A. Cebolla, A. Dominguez, A. Gonzalez-Segura, E. de la Cruz, S. Albertini, L. Ferrini, K. Kronika, T. Nilsen, R. Baños


The main objective of MEAL is to develop a pedagogical tool aimed to help teachers and nutritionists (students and professionals) to acquire, train, promote and deliver to children basic nutritional education and healthy eating behaviours competencies. MEAL is focused on eating behaviours and not only in nutritional literacy, and will use new technologies like Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and serious games (SG) platforms to consolidate the nutritional competences and habits.

Keywords: Serious Games, nutritional education, pedagogical ICT platform, training course

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7 D6tions: A Serious Game to Learn Software Engineering Process and Design

Authors: Hector G. Perez-Gonzalez, Miriam Vazquez-Escalante, Sandra E. Nava-Muñoz, 
 Francisco E. Martinez-Perez, Alberto S. Nunez-Varela


The software engineering teaching process has been the subject of many studies. To improve this process, researchers have proposed merely illustrative techniques in the classroom, such as topic presentations and dynamics between students on one side or attempts to involve students in real projects with companies and institutions to bring them to a real software development problem on the other hand. Simulators and serious games have been used as auxiliary tools to introduce students to topics that are too abstract when these are presented in the traditional way. Most of these tools cover a limited area of the huge software engineering scope. To address this problem, we have developed D6tions, an educational serious game that simulates the software engineering process and is designed to experiment the different stages a software engineer (playing roles as project leader or as a developer or designer) goes through, while participating in a software project. We describe previous approaches to this problem, how D6tions was designed, its rules, directions, and the results we obtained of the use of this game involving undergraduate students playing the game.

Keywords: Software Engineering, Serious Games, Software Engineering Education, software engineering teaching process

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6 A Multi-Agent Simulation of Serious Games to Predict Their Impact on E-Learning Processes

Authors: Ibtissem Daoudi, Raoudha Chebil, Wided Lejouad Chaari


Serious games constitute actually a recent and attractive way supposed to replace the classical boring courses. However, the choice of the adapted serious game to a specific learning environment remains a challenging task that makes teachers unwilling to adopt this concept. To fill this gap, we present, in this paper, a multi-agent-based simulator allowing to predict the impact of a serious game integration in a learning environment given several game and players characteristics. As results, the presented tool gives intensities of several emotional aspects characterizing learners reactions to the serious game adoption. The presented simulator is tested to predict the effect of basing a coding course on the serious game ”CodeCombat”. The obtained results are compared with feedbacks of using the same serious game in a real learning process.

Keywords: Serious Games, emotion, learning process, multi-agent simulation

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5 A Taxonomy of the Informational Content of Virtual Heritage Serious Games

Authors: Laurence C. Hanes, Robert J. Stone


Video games have reached a point of huge commercial success as well as wide familiarity with audiences both young and old. Much attention and research have also been directed towards serious games and their potential learning affordances. It is little surprise that the field of virtual heritage has taken a keen interest in using serious games to present cultural heritage information to users, with applications ranging from museums and cultural heritage institutions, to academia and research, to schools and education. Many researchers have already documented their efforts to develop and distribute virtual heritage serious games. Although attempts have been made to create classifications of the different types of virtual heritage games (somewhat akin to the idea of game genres), no formal taxonomy has yet been produced to define the different types of cultural heritage and historical information that can be presented through these games at a content level, and how the information can be manifested within the game. This study proposes such a taxonomy. First the informational content is categorized as heritage or historical, then further divided into tangible, intangible, natural, and analytical. Next, the characteristics of the manifestation within the game are covered. The means of manifestation, level of demonstration, tone, and focus are all defined and explained. Finally, the potential learning outcomes of the content are discussed. A demonstration of the taxonomy is then given by describing the informational content and corresponding manifestations within several examples of virtual heritage serious games as well as commercial games. It is anticipated that this taxonomy will help designers of virtual heritage serious games to think about and clearly define the information they are presenting through their games, and how they are presenting it. Another result of the taxonomy is that it will enable us to frame cultural heritage and historical information presented in commercial games with a critical lens, especially where there may not be explicit learning objectives. Finally, the results will also enable us to identify shared informational content and learning objectives between any virtual heritage serious and/or commercial games.

Keywords: taxonomy, Serious Games, virtual heritage, informational content

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4 A Review of Applying Serious Games on Learning

Authors: Carlos Oliveira, Ulrick Pimentel


Digital games have conquered a growing space in the lives of children, adolescents and adults. In this perspective, the use of this resource has shown to be an important strategy that facilitates the learning process. This research is a literature review on the use of serious games in teaching, which shows the characteristics of these games, the benefits and possible harms that this resource can produce, in addition to the possible methods of evaluating the effectiveness of this resource in teaching. The results point out that Serious Games have significant potential as a tool for instruction. However, their effectiveness in terms of learning outcomes is still poorly studied, mainly due to the complexity involved in evaluating intangible measures.

Keywords: Learning, Serious Games, Application, literature review

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3 Developing a Customizable Serious Game and Its Applicability in the Classroom

Authors: Anita Kéri


Recent developments in the field of education have led to a renewed interest in teaching methodologies and practices. Gamification is fast becoming a key instrument in the education of new generations and besides other methods, serious games have become the center of attention. Ready-built serious games are available for most higher education institutions to buy and implement. However, monetary restraints and the unalterable nature of the games might deter most higher education institutions from the application of these serious games. Therefore, there is a continuously growing need for a customizable serious game that has been developed based on a concrete need analysis and experts’ opinion. There has been little evidence so far of serious games that have been created based on relevant and current need analysis from higher education institution teachers, professional practitioners and students themselves. Therefore, the aim of this current paper is to analyze the needs of higher education institution educators with special emphasis on their needs, the applicability of serious games in their classrooms, and exploring options for the development of a customizable serious game framework. The paper undertakes to analyze workshop discussions on implementing serious games in education and propose a customizable serious game framework applicable in the education of the new generation. Research results show that the most important feature of a serious game is its customizability. The fact that practitioners are able to manage different scenarios and upload their own content to a game seems to be a key to the increasingly widespread application of serious games in the classroom.

Keywords: Education, Serious Games, Gamification, Game-Based Learning

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2 Non-Cognitive Skills Associated with Learning in a Serious Gaming Environment: A Pretest-Posttest Experimental Design

Authors: Tanja Kreitenweis


Lifelong learning is increasingly seen as essential for coping with the rapidly changing work environment. To this end, serious games can provide convenient and straightforward access to complex knowledge for all age groups. However, learning achievements depend largely on a learner’s non-cognitive skill disposition (e.g., motivation, self-belief, playfulness, and openness). With the aim of combining the fields of serious games and non-cognitive skills, this research focuses in particular on the use of a business simulation, which conveys change management insights. Business simulations are a subset of serious games and are perceived as a non-traditional learning method. The presented objectives of this work are versatile: (1) developing a scale, which measures learners’ knowledge and skills level before and after a business simulation was played, (2) investigating the influence of non-cognitive skills on learning in this business simulation environment and (3) exploring the moderating role of team preference in this type of learning setting. First, expert interviews have been conducted to develop an appropriate measure for learners’ skills and knowledge assessment. A pretest-posttest experimental design with German management students was implemented to approach the remaining objectives. By using the newly developed, reliable measure, it was found that students’ skills and knowledge state were higher after the simulation had been played, compared to before. A hierarchical regression analysis revealed two positive predictors for this outcome: motivation and self-esteem. Unexpectedly, playfulness had a negative impact. Team preference strengthened the link between grit and playfulness, respectively, and learners’ skills and knowledge state after completing the business simulation. Overall, the data underlined the potential of business simulations to improve learners’ skills and knowledge state. In addition, motivational factors were found as predictors for benefitting most from the applied business simulation. Recommendations are provided for how pedagogues can use these findings.

Keywords: Change Management, Serious Games, business simulations, (experiential) learning, non-cognitive skills

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1 From Design, Experience and Play Framework to Common Design Thinking Tools: Using Serious Modern Board Games

Authors: Micael Sousa


Board games (BGs) are thriving as new designs emerge from the hobby community to greater audiences all around the world. Although digital games are gathering most of the attention in game studies and serious games research fields, the post-digital movement helps to explain why in the world dominated by digital technologies, the analog experiences are still unique and irreplaceable to users, allowing innovation in new hybrid environments. The BG’s new designs are part of these post-digital and hybrid movements because they result from the use of powerful digital tools that enable the production and knowledge sharing about the BGs and their face-to-face unique social experiences. These new BGs, defined as modern by many authors, are providing innovative designs and unique game mechanics that are still not yet fully explored by the main serious games (SG) approaches. Even the most established frameworks settled to address SG, as fun games implemented to achieve predefined goals need more development, especially when considering modern BGs. Despite the many anecdotic perceptions, researchers are only now starting to rediscover BGs and demonstrating their potentials. They are proving that BGs are easy to adapt and to grasp by non-expert players in experimental approaches, with the possibility of easy-going adaptation to players’ profiles and serious objectives even during gameplay. Although there are many design thinking (DT) models and practices, their relations with SG frameworks are also underdeveloped, mostly because this is a new research field, lacking theoretical development and the systematization of the experimental practices. Using BG as case studies promise to help develop these frameworks. Departing from the Design, Experience, and Play (DPE) framework and considering the Common Design Think Tools (CDST), this paper proposes a new experimental framework for the adaptation and development of modern BG design for DT: the Design, Experience, and Play for Think (DPET) experimental framework. This is done through the systematization of the DPE and CDST approaches applied in two case studies, where two different sequences of adapted BG were employed to establish a DT collaborative process. These two sessions occurred with different participants and in different contexts, also using different sequences of games for the same DT approach. The first session took place at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Coimbra in a training session of serious games for project development. The second session took place in the Casa do Impacto through The Great Village Design Jam light. Both sessions had the same duration and were designed to progressively achieve DT goals, using BGs as SGs in a collaborative process. The results from the sessions show that a sequence of BGs, when properly adapted to address the DPET framework, can generate a viable and innovative process of collaborative DT that is productive, fun, and engaging. The DPET proposed framework intents to help establish how new SG solutions could be defined for new goals through flexible DT. Applications in other areas of research and development can also benefit from these findings.

Keywords: Methodology, Serious Games, Design Thinking, Board Games

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