Serious Games Research

“Organisations are finding that the application of a game-based learning approach to … training is helping them increase engagement and performance. [They] provide employees with a compelling context-relevant storyline … constant feedback … and rewards. They also provide … opportunities to fail, learn … and try again in safe environments.” (Donovan, 2012)

Keeping this in mind, I would like to build in a way to tell the user or player how well they are doing in real time. In some situation this won’t work, or won’t reflect the real-life situation they are training for. In the “Van Loading” game, it would not tell you how you are doing until you had finished loading the van. This would be to reinforce the fact of how important it is to load the van correctly which you might not realise you had not done until you were unloading trays at a customers house and find you missed a tray or loaded them in the wrong order which would be frustrating but not detrimental. Whereas in the “Delivering and Greeting the Customer” it would be important to be able to constantly tell what the customer feels like and being able to gauge whether you need to offer more help than usual or change your attitude mid delivery. For this game, there would be a constant feedback of how the customer feels in the way of a “Customer Satisfaction” meter or percentage. “Games are as effective as video role play for teaching leadership skills and more cost effective.” (Donovan, 2012)

The cost related to developing training videos should take into consideration the cost of hiring equipment, sets, actors, and writers and more. The cost of re-shooting videos might be prohibitive to a lot of companies looking to update their training resources, but is something that would be cheaper to do in a video game once all the ground work has been laid. It can be constantly adjusted to suit updated materials or addition of new scenarios with minimal cost after the initial outlay.

In terms of the business aspect, according to Learnovate, the cost of developing these games could end up being an additional 30% - 50% on top of traditional eLearning resources, but as a business once the functionality is built it could be reused across several clients (Donovan, 2012). Take for example this project, planning a few resources for Customer Delivery Drivers (CDDs) at Tesco. One of the resources is to do with driving and keeping to speed limits and avoiding hazards. This could easily be repurposed to other supermarket delivery drivers such as Sainsbury’s or Asda. By making the games as “boilerplate” as possible would make it very easy to change colours or images or even sounds.

In the business context, this idea; being able to replace an instructor and many hours of tutorial with a self-directed learning app or game is key. Anders Frank (Frank, 2007) says that serious games need to focus equally on three elements: creating an engaging game, making sure the content is relevant to the training objective, and that the game is designed for the context it will be used in. Frank also says in this essay that the instructor is key to keeping users engaged in the game. An objective then, is to be able to convey information within the game in the same way an instructor might set up the preface to a game before it is played. This could be achieved by having typical text instruction during and before the game in order to convey important information the user might need to interact wholly with the game.

In the section “Design goal two: The training objective” Frank also says that it is important that the content is kept relevant and that it does not stray too far into a typical game by using gameplay elements such as spawn points in war games. This reinforces the fact that in these games they should stimulate real life responses as opposed to an “oh well, it’s only a game” response which is something that will be focused on during the design process for this game.

Donovan, L., 2012. The Use of Serious Games in the Sorporate Sector. [Online] Available at: https://www.learnovatecentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Use_of_Serious_Games_in_the_Corporate_Sector_PRINT_FINAL.pdf

Frank, A., 2007. Balancing Three Different Foci in the Design of Serious Games: Engagement, Training Objective and Context. [Online] Available at: http://www.digra.org/wp-content/uploads/digital-library/07312.29037.pdf [Accessed 4 November 2019].

Author

Jaz

Game developer who studied at Solent University with some truly amazing people. Now studying a Masters of Game Design at UCA Farnham. Also Co-Founder of Stack Interactive.


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