Why you need a wide cast of experts to create a successful serious game (Serious Play Conference recap)
I would like to attribute most of my geographical knowledge to the game “Where in The World is Carmen Sandiego?” For those of you that have never heard of this educational gem, it’s a PC-based game that has you try to track a thief across the globe, where you learn about geography, history, and world cultures along the way. Not only was I hooked to this game as a child, but it helped me learn topics that I wasn’t intrinsically interested in. I’d like to thank Carmen Sandiego for helping me survive my torturous middle school geography classes.
Games like Where in The World is Carmen Sandiego? and gamification instructional strategies like leader boards or points systems have been used in K-12 educational curriculums for a while now. Gamification is making its way in other domains and is now revolutionizing learning in the private sector, healthcare and the military.
Last week I participated in the Serious Play Conference, and we discussed the impressive spread of gamification and serious games in education and training. The conference brought together experts (game designers, artists, engineers, educators, and researchers) to present and talk about the creation and use of games and simulations throughout various domains.
Throughout the sessions, I came across
These demonstrations provoked discussions about the purpose of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and gamification in training and education. Specifically, one presenter brought up that companies often use these terms as buzzwords while not addressing the core reasons to use these platforms and methods.
Our team at QIC believes that implementing any new technology must depend on its effectiveness as a training tool and the cost of implementation. QIC is currently resolving this concern by developing a tool that guides comparative evaluations of training efficiency across training platforms (e.g., AR, VR, mobile).
I sat in several discussions that provided methods to game design. One session consisted of a workshop to develop games using Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is a framework that focuses on inclusivity in learning and offers guidelines to ensure that all individuals have equal learning opportunities. These guidelines focus on
In other sessions we discussed how psychological concepts can be integrated into a game-based education and training to make it more memorable and engaging. For example, one presenter talked about the role of operant conditioning - learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior- in fostering engagement and motivation.
Conferences like Serious Play are so important because they allow us to see what goes into developing a serious game through the eyes of experts in different fields. Industries often stop at integrating rewards and score boards into education and training, but that seriously limits their growth. The complexity of designing and developing serious games in education and training requires the teamwork of a wide cast of specialists.
Do you have a favorite serious game? If so, what made you enjoy it? We would love to know!
These posts are written or shared by QIC team members. We find this stuff interesting, exciting, and totally awesome! We hope you do too!