Characterizing the Serious Game and Assessing Learning Goals
Keywords:Serious game, assessment grid, learning objective, learning outcomes, effectiveness, performance, satisfaction, design science, higher education
Serious games (SGs) are video or computer games designed for training or educational purposes. Thanks to the wide variety of opportunities they provide, e.g. interactivity, immersion, simulation, etc they have become universally embraced in both academic and non-academic fields alike. However, the selection of the most suitable SG with regard to a given learning goal seems to be less well addressed in the literature. This paper tries to bridge this research gap by building a new Characterizing and Assessing Serious Games Grid (CASGG). The research was based on a design science method. The CASGG was built during a series of meetings (i.e. working group with professionals (education experts), brainstorming with students and teachers) and pilot tests with students. Subsequently, it was tested in the higher education field with 41 graduate students to assess their learning performance according to leaning goals using a specific SG. The tested SG was StarBank the Game and the learning goal was to understand the principal mechanisms of banking. The findings revealed that there is no difference in terms of learning performance between students who have used the SG and those who have followed the theoretical course. With reference to learning satisfaction, the first category of students expressed much more enthusiasm and motivation for learning. Using the SG was for them more enjoyable and engaging. The game play succeeded in capturing their attention, challenging their curiosity and enhancing their interest in the theoretical knowledge.
Moreover, owing to this research the design science approach proved most suitable for the building and application of the CASGG by demonstrating its practical feasibility and use. Regarding the context of SGs, the CASGG is actually not only an empirical elaboration of an SG assessment instrument, but also a starting point for further research in this area.
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