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Serious gaming for experiential learning


Abstract and Figures

In Engineering Education, the traditional process of knowledge building was based on one-way (teacher->student) delivery of information, in classrooms. Students were passive receptors of the teacher's messages. In the past few years, the tendency is to implement active learning paradigms where students are the focus of the educational process. The interaction between teacher and students is more dynamic, enhanced by technological tools and includes rich content and flexible activities. The integration of Virtual Environments in Engineering Education allows new and innovative learning methods and is, therefore, a contribution to these new paradigms. This article presents the instantiation of these learning methods with first year engineering students. In our study, students were involved in simulation/gaming environments related to fundamental physics learning. Afterwards their knowledge was tested and their perception of the relevance of the system was evaluated. Results show that knowledge construction was greatly enhanced and that student's motivation for learning was increased.
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Session T2G
978-1-61284-469-5/11/$26.00 ©2011 IEEE October 12 - 15, 2011, Rapid City, SD
ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference
Serious Gaming for Experiential Learning
David Gouveia, Duarte Lopes, Carlos Vaz de Carvalho
Graphics, Interaction and Learning Technologies
Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto,,,
Abstract - In Engineering Education, the traditional
process of knowledge building was based on one-way
(teacher->student) delivery of information, in
classrooms. Students were passive receptors of the
teacher’s messages. In the past few years, the tendency is
to implement active learning paradigms where students
are the focus of the educational process. The interaction
between teacher and students is more dynamic,
enhanced by technological tools and includes rich
content and flexible activities. The integration of Virtual
Environments in Engineering Education allows new and
innovative learning methods and is, therefore, a
contribution to these new paradigms. This article
presents the instantiation of these learning methods with
first year engineering students. In our study, students
were involved in simulation/gaming environments
related to fundamental physics learning. Afterwards
their knowledge was tested and their perception of the
relevance of the system was evaluated. Results show that
knowledge construction was greatly enhanced and that
student’s motivation for learning was increased.
Index Terms – e-Learning, Engineering, Experiential
Learning, Higher Education, Serious Games, Virtual
Learning theories reflect the existing ideas about human
cognitive processes, that is, the way we are able to capture
information and transform it into knowledge. Theories like
behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism and connectivism,
reflect the evolving ideas of the cognitive psychologists
along the last century.
One of these, the experiential learning theory, is based
on the assumed importance of experimenting and
experiencing. It sequences observation, reflection and
abstract conceptualization so that theoretical concepts are
applied in real or quasi-real contexts to consolidate learning.
In the past few years we've started observing the use of
Virtual Reality (VR) environments for experiential learning.
These systems benefit from advanced interaction
technologies, like haptic devices - a tactile sensory interface
between a person and a computer – that create highly
realistic and immersive environments.
In a convergent path, games can be instantiated for
learning as they involve mental and physical stimulation and
develop practical skills – they force the player to decide, to
choose, to define priorities and to solve problems. They
imply self-learning abilities (players are often required to
seek out information to master the game itself), they allow
transfer of learning from/to other realities and are inherently
experiential with the engagement of multiple senses. Games
can also be social environments, sometimes involving large
distributed communities. Serious Games are specifically
designed to change behaviors and impart knowledge and are
widely used in training situations. Gaming and simulation
environments are excellent learning tools because they can
replicate real contexts or even provide training situations
that occur in very specific circumstances.
However a few researchers mention that there is still a
limited use of Serious Games in formal education. This has
mainly to do with social concerns and stereotypes about the
usefulness of games: if you're playing you're not studying.
So, the adaptation to these new methodologies of
teaching and learning is an ongoing process with relative
success. This is true for most levels of education, including
Higher Education and Engineering Education.
Pereira said that teachers must know that "teaching is
not only to transfer knowledge but to create opportunities
for their production or construction. The traditional process
of knowledge building is based only on the cognitive
aspects in the theory and practice transforming the student
in a passive agent. In this type of education, there is neither
incentive nor space to promote the student.”[1].
This article describes a methodology to integrate these
environments, with a Serious Game approach, in
Engineering Education. It is, therefore, a contribution to the
analysis and evaluation of these environments for learning
Experiential learning, introduced by Kolb [2], proposes that
concrete experiences provide the basis for observation,
reflection and abstract conceptualization. His Experiential
Learning Model (ELM) is composed of four stages that
progress in a spiral: 1) concrete experience; 2) observation
and reflection on that experience; 3) formation of abstract
concepts upon that reflection and 4) test of the new
Bruner [3] and Silverman [4] mention the importance of
acting, experimenting and experiencing as learning
promoters and enhancers. Knowledge acquisition is
especially meaningful when concepts are tested and
experimented in real or quasi-real contexts.
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However, it is not always possible to conduct these
experiments in real contexts due to the following factors:
Cost of the experiments;
Ethical or social reasons;
Impossibility to recreate natural conditions;
The nature of the concepts to be learned;
In those cases, simulation environments can be
excellent learning tools because they allow replicating real
contexts or even creating training situations that only occur
in very specific circumstances.
Virtual Reality (VR) environments have already been
used in different educational areas like computer science,
economics, politics, health, environment, globalization,
corporate training and tourism [5][6][7][8][9][10][11]. With
these environments, learning becomes experiential as
users/learners must conduct tasks in an immersive context
(virtual world) that involves the users and where they feel a
sense of presence [12].
1.1 Interaction Devices
The immersion of a user in an environment is, above all,
determined by the capacity of the interface (devices,
feedback, etc.) to act upon the users’ senses and change
their perception of reality [13]. Furthermore, it is often this
interface that determines the effectiveness and user
satisfaction with the application [14].
The evolution of the devices used in VR systems
always had a central importance in the development of these
environments. Examples of these devices are:
Head-Mounted Displays: A conventional HMD consists
of two small screens mounted on a helmet or in a pair
of glasses, with headphones for reproducing audio and
a motion sensor used to change the stereoscopic images
displayed on the screens when the user changes the
orientation the head.
Wired Gloves: A device composed of a sleeve, sensors
in the fingers and wrist and one or more motion sensors
to acquire information about the orientation and
position of the hand: if the sensor has 3 DOF (Degree
Of Freedom) it only records the hand movements in a
fixed point in space (rotations), if it has 6 DOF it is also
able to locate the hand in a 3D space.
Kinetic Controllers: Controllers (mostly designed for
game consoles) that replace the traditional buttons-
based controller by motion detection in space and
screen pointing: this way the control of the game is
done through physical gestures.
Haptic Devices: An important component of multi-
sensory communication is the sense of touch [15] and haptic
systems provide that possibility. The word haptic is an
adjective that means "relative to the touch, touch". It
denominates the science of touch and the study and
simulation of pressure, texture, vibration and other
meanings expressed through touch. Haptic devices
reproduce feedback forces that an object produces when
touched. It is very likely that the sense of touch will play an
important role in this evolution [16]. In Fig. 1 it is portrayed
the haptic device used in this study.
The purpose of these technologies is then to mimic
reality in order to amplify the feeling of truth to the user.
The great advantage of this type of interface is that the
intuitive knowledge of the user's physical world becomes
beneficial to master the virtual world.
Furthermore, VR allows creating imaginary but
meaningful environments for the subject of study. For
instance, if students are learning about gravitational theory it
is possible to create virtual planets, with imaginary
gravitational conditions.
Nevertheless, although there is already equipment for
highly enhanced interaction its use is limited due to the high
cost and lack of standardization of access [17]. But, it is
clear that, as technology progresses, more support will be
provided for other forms of multi-sensory interaction.
A Game is a structured or semi-structured context where
learners (players) have goals that they try to achieve by
overcoming challenges. Players must respect a set of rules
that exist in reference to that restricted context. Failure to
follow these rules constitutes a crime or mistake and implies
a punishment or penalty. Games can involve one player
acting alone, two or more players acting cooperatively, and,
more frequently, players or teams of players competing
between themselves [18].
Computer games are highly interactive products.
Playing a computer game generates a series of events that
outline a narrative, carrying emotions, pleasures and
challenges unique to the reading of that narrative.
According to Mark Riyis [19], the use of games for
learning is effective due to the following characteristics:
they are motivational; they are cooperative; they meet
educational objectives; they allow the resolution of
problematic situations; they allow the application of
concepts in practical situations; they are interdisciplinary;
they favor oral expression and cultural awareness; they
promote respect for the others, teamwork and cooperative
learning. Hussain et al [20] looked at the use of a fantasy
based multiplayer game to train teamwork skills in the US
army and found that a training system that used multiplayer
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games was suitable to elicit teamwork behaviors, to practice
those behaviors and improve upon it.
The pursuit of knowledge through interaction and
cooperation among players is enhanced, according to [21],
by the very same structure of the game when played in
groups. Thus, a game can strongly reinforce socialization,
support dialogue and exchange of ideas. It is an exercise in
dialogue, group decision and consensus [22], supported by
environments of simulations and practices, experiences and
creativity enhancers, participation, research and integration
Serious Games can be defined as “a mental contest,
played with a computer in accordance with specific rules,
that uses entertainment to further government or corporate
training, education, health, public policy, and strategic
communication objectives" [24] or as “Games that do not
have entertainment, enjoyment or fun as their primary
purpose.” [25]
Serious Games focus on the specific design of the
process, creating scenarios in predefined ways through
interactive, and immersive graphical environments (2D/3D
graphics, sound, and animation). Interactivity makes
possible to know the impact of the player’s actions in
specific situations created in the virtual scenario and assess
its response ability.
So, rather than offering traditional paper-based or static
online courses, games can offer an immersive and engaging
environment where users ‘learn by doing’. Users try and
learn from their own mistakes in a controlled environment.
This trial and error based approach supports well learning
and is able also to improve teamwork, social skills,
leadership and collaboration.
Formal education must be prepared to use the new
generation of learning tools and to develop these tools for
learner autonomy, cooperation, creativity and critical
analysis. Learning with these tools should emphasize
visualizing, hearing, feeling, experimenting and interpreting
so that there is an effective construction of knowledge [18].
The proposed virtual experiential learning methodology
is based on the Dewey 3-stage learning cycle: experience-
reflection-learning [26]. Following the ELM model,
students are lead to experience, to act, to observe the
consequences of their actions and to reflect on the results.
However, the fact that this is a cycle implies that students
can start anywhere. In fact, according to Dewey, we could
also define the cycle by the expression: experience +
reflection = learning [26].
The experimentation stage is controlled by a set of rules
that define the Game approach. These rules create a
competitive/collaborative environment where students look
for the best solution for the challenges that they have to
face. This study follows a previous experiment organized
with the same simulations but without the game context. In
that occasion students, from the same year but from
different groups, had the opportunity to try the simulations
in a volunteer basis without an organized or even academic
context [27].
In this case, the Game organization was the following:
Students formed teams of two/three elements. It was
left to them to choose the teams;
Teams had access to a workstation and a haptic device.
They had access to the Internet to search information
that could help them solve the challenges. Electronic
communication between groups was controlled to the
maximum extent possible;
Each team had an online environment with the
simulations, the status of their performance and the
status of the other teams
Each team had to solve ten challenges of increasing
difficulty. The solution was given online through a
descriptive answer that was evaluated on the spot by a
In some levels, solving a challenge would mean that the
other teams would face a more difficult challenge
Of course, the winning team would be the one
answering correctly and in less time, the different
2.1. Simulation: Aerodynamics
In this simulation, the phenomenon under study is the
movement of air and the consequent behavior it produces in
certain objects, such as the wings of an airplane. This
behavior and the corresponding forces are reproduced in the
haptic device.
Although the main purpose is learning by the practical
application of the aerodynamics concepts, the simulation
can also be beneficial for a teacher to transmit those
Aerodynamics basically establishes relations between
the 4 different forces (see Fig. 2) that, at a certain moment,
are applied to a plane (or any other flying object). If we
consider a two dimensional space, in a certain moment the
sum of the forces must be 0, therefore,
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A wind tunnel was the scenario depicted in the
simulation for the study of aerodynamic phenomena of the
flight of an airplane (see Fig. 3). The interface of the
simulator shows a plane P-38 Lightning, a graphic with the
magnitude of the four aerodynamic forces and data on the
speed, angle of attack and status of the airplane, i.e. tells if
the airplane is on the take-off, climbing, cruise flight, etc.
The resultant of forces is "felt" by the user through the
haptic mechanism. The user can understand the whole
process of starting the plane, taking-off, flying and losing
ability to remain in flight. The user controls the increase and
decrease in speed of the plane and this variation is obviously
directly related to the increase and decrease in air velocity.
Similarly the user can vary the angle of attack from -15
degrees to 15 degrees.
2.2 Example: Friction
A second experiment involved the creation of scenarios for
learning the theory of friction. Friction relates to forces that
are created whenever two surfaces in contact move or try to
move. The main theoretical facts related to friction state
Friction always opposes the motion or attempted
motion of one surface over another surface;
Friction is dependent on the texture of both surfaces;
Friction is also dependent on the amount of contact
force pushing the two surfaces together;
We can separate Friction in three different types of
force: Sliding friction, rolling friction and fluid friction;
The causes of sliding friction are molecular attraction or
adhesion between the materials, surface roughness of
the materials, and deformation resistance in the case of
soft materials.
For our experiment, the most relevant friction force is
the sliding friction: when two solid objects are in contact
and a force is applied to slide one object against the other,
the sliding friction force resists the motion (see Fig. 4). If F
is the force pushing on an object and F0 is the force of
friction, the relationship between F and F0 will determine
whether the object will slide or not move at all.
Kinetic Friction: If force F is greater than F0 (F > F0),
then the object will slide or move. The friction is
considered kinetic friction, which means moving
friction. In this case, the pushing force is greater than
the friction force.
Static Friction: If the pushing force F is smaller than the
resistive force of friction F0 (F < F0), there is no
motion and the objects remain static with respect to
each other. In this case, the friction is considered static
friction, which means it is not moving.
With the simulation, students push the haptic device
and feel the friction force that depends on the surface type
of the virtual materials applied to the objects.
The validation of the simulation was conducted with two
groups (25 students in each group, 90% male, average 18
years-old) of the first year of the Computer Engineering
degree from ISEP (Instituto Superior de Engenharia do
Porto). The simulation topics were not learned by the
students in their academic classes so the only real
motivation was the game context.
The test process was performed as follows:
1) Demonstration of the haptic device using a set of
2) Explanation of some concepts necessary for
understanding the simulations.
3) Clarification of the simulator interface.
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4) Try-out activities so that students become familiar
with the environment.
5) Competition between students’ teams
6) Questionnaire about the perception that the
students had about the simulation, haptic systems
and their use in teaching.
The proposed questions for the aerodynamics simulator
were (examples):
1) Why is it that, when speed is zero, the resultant of the
forces points down? Answer: Since there is no support at
zero speed, there is only gravity.
2) Why is it that the plane takes off only from a speed of
150 km/h (what happens in the scheme of forces)? Answer:
Only after this speed there is enough support to overcome
the force of gravity.
3) With the angle of attack of 0 degrees, the plane
accelerates. Note that the plane rises slightly even without
attack angle. Why? Answer: Because of the shape of the
wing. Its asymmetrical shape between upper and lower
surface of the wing results in a slight elevation of the plane.
4) When the plane slows down the resultant of forces points
backwards and down. Why is this happening? Answer: A
decrease in speed decreases the strength of momentum, so
the friction force (wind) becomes higher. At the same time
reducing the impulse originates a reduction of the support,
which becomes smaller than the weight and leads to the
descent of the plane.
5) Why is it that when the plane slows down to speeds
below 150 Km/h the resultant force points down and the
angle of attack decreases? Answer: Because the plane enters
into loss. You cannot keep flight in these conditions. The
resultant of forces points down and plane decreases the
angle of attack.
All the students were given some concepts of physics
before testing the flight simulator even if some of them
already had some knowledge about this matter. Students'
responses were mostly correct, giving the insight that they
understood the operation of the simulator and the physical
forces inherent to the plane flight.
To assess the perception of the students in relation to
the effectiveness of this learning methodology, they were
asked to answer the following set of questions:
a) The application is intuitive? 79% of the students
answered that the application was highly intuitive.
Only 9% didn’t find it intuitive.
b) The application offers a better understanding of
the physics? 90% of the students replied
c) The experiential style of haptic systems applied to
education gives greater motivation to learn? 90%
of the students replied positively.
d) Haptic systems should be applied to other
disciplines? All the students replied positively.
These results were, in general, better than the ones
obtained with the previous volunteer-based group of
In an unrelated event, the same systems (simulation and
devices) were used during class time to demonstrate the
same physical concepts. It was interesting to observe a
different reaction from students who were much less
interested in the simulation and in the device. Of course, we
are aware that conclusions and remarks based on this
event’s observation are empirical and cannot be compared
to the case study results: the event was not scientifically
analyzed and the target audience was very different.
Nevertheless it was noticeable that to get the maximum
effect (motivation, immersion) from these devices, it is
really necessary to set up an environment where
entertainment, competition and collaboration (game context)
play a relevant role.
This article described a methodology to integrate VR
environments in education, providing new and innovative
learning methods and is, therefore, a contribution to the
analysis and evaluation of these environments for learning
purposes. Furthermore, the use of these environments was
setup in a game context where competition and
collaboration were used as motivational forces for the
In what concerns the knowledge acquisition, after all
the main objective of the study, it was clear that, by being
immersed in the simulation environment, students were able
to relate theoretical concepts and the practice. Collected
results show that physics understanding was greatly
enhanced and that students’ motivation for learning, even
theoretical concepts, was increased.
As a side effect it was clear that students were also
interested in learning how the haptic system worked, how
they could program it and how they could create new
scenarios and simulations. They became highly motivated to
design and develop applications for VR systems.
The study also revealed that the teacher continues to be
necessary. There is still the need to have someone guiding
the students in practical exercises and ensuring that they
fully understand the questions.
We conclude that this is a methodology that really
reinforces the active learning paradigms and that is worth to
be further developed with other experiments. New
simulations in electromagnetics and gravity are being
prepared, this time using a complete 3D stereoscopic
environment to reinforce the user's immersion in the system.
Part of this work has been developed in the scope of the
SELEAG Project (503900-PT-CMN), funded by the
European Commission, under the Lifelong Programme,
Comenius action.
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David Gouveia, MSc in Computer Engineering, Researcher
Duarte Lopes, MSc in Computer Engineering, Researcher
Carlos Vaz de Carvalho, PhD in Information Systems and
Technologies, Professor at ISEP, Director of GILT-ISEP,
... A recent study supports the notion that experiential learning through VR is indeed possible and also effective in terms of learning outcomes (Kwon, 2019). Many other studies highlighted the potential of VR technology to afford experiential learning (Aiello, D'Elia, Di Tore, & Sibilio, 2012;Gouveia, Lopes, & De Carvalho, 2011;Jarmon, Traphagan, Mayrath, & Trivedi, 2009;Le, Pedro, & Park, 2015;San Chee, 2001;Su & Cheng, 2019). ...
... In the meantime, VR technology has evolved and there are consumer-friendly standalone headsets on the market (e.g., Oculus Quest) that allow a higher degree of immersion and interactivity than the aforementioned desktop-based VR worlds. In previous studies, VR has often been described as promising to support experiential learning processes (Aiello et al., 2012;Gouveia et al., 2011;Jarmon et al., 2009;Le et al., 2015;San Chee, 2001;Su & Cheng, 2019). However, we still require a deeper understanding of VR technologies' unique educational affordances that enable the emergence of experiential learning processes. ...
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Virtual reality has been proposed as a promising technology for higher education since the combination of immersive and interactive features enables experiential learning. However, previous studies did not distinguish between the different learning modes of the four-stage experiential learning cycle (i.e., concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation). With our study, we contribute a deeper understanding of how the unique opportunities of virtual reality can afford each of the four experiential learning modes. We conducted three design thinking workshops with interdisciplinary teams of students and lecturers. These workshops resulted in three low-fidelity virtual reality prototypes which were evaluated and refined in three student focus groups. Based on these results, we identify design elements for virtual reality applications that afford an holistic experiential learning process in higher education. We discuss the implications of our results for the selection, design, and use of educational virtual reality applications.
... Since it is not always feasible to perform these experiments in physical surroundings, serious games can provide an excellent learning tool, offering virtual worlds similar to the real ones. Thus, they allow the reproduction of original contexts or even create training situations that only occur in specific circumstances, controlled in more safe and educative ways [16]. In this perspective, highly interactive and immersive environments form advanced media services that can be very productive towards digital literacy and other demanding life-long learning tasks, utilizing media to inform and educate people in more pleasant and effective ways [6][7][8][9]. ...
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Computer games are considered a useful tool for educational purposes. Alternative media applications such as serious games combine edification with challenge and entertainment. Thus, learning becomes enjoyable, more comfortable, and more efficient. The paper presents the implementation of an educational computer game regarding traffic behavior awareness through the main stages of analysis, design, development, and evaluation, aiming at investigating the contribution of gamification in traffic safety. The game was developed as an advanced media education approach in Unreal Engine, encompassing various adventures. The game hero’s tasks are to move into the virtual city to complete a mission, follow road safety rules, and experience the adventures either as a pedestrian or as a vehicle driver. Research hypotheses/questions are tested concerning the gaming impact and the audience engagement through first-person storytelling to communicate and perceive traffic regulations. The results reveal that a properly developed educational game could become more engaging, amusing, and efficient. It could also enhance traffic awareness through experiential and mediated learning, also fostering social responsibility.
... Salem and Zimmerman extend this definition by presenting games as "[…] systems in which players participate in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, the result of which is quantifiable" [6]. Games are, hence, excellent personal development tools as they force the player to solve problems, to prioritize, to collaborate, etc [7]. As such, playing games develops a set of interrelated cognitive areas. ...
... The robotic devices used in RMT are characterized by high costs, are difficult to move and can only be used in a clinical setting. Therefore, the use of cheaper, more portable mechatronic devices, originally developed as game controllers, have become more pervasive over the last few years because they can be used by patients at home, which means that they may be suitable for tele-rehabilitation [20]. These devices could simulate the kinesthetic sense of the user and generate forces through the end-effector [4]. ...
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In this paper, we propose a new protocol, integrating Virtual Reality with the Novint Falcon, to evaluate motion performance during perturbed 3D reaching tasks. The protocol consists of six 3D point-to-point reaching tasks, performed using Falcon with six opposing force fields. Twenty subjects were enrolled in the study. During each task, subjects reached 80 targets and the protocol was repeated over three different days. The trajectories of the end-effector were recorded to calculate: duration of movement, length ratio, lateral deviation, aiming angle, speed metric, and normalized jerk. The coefficient of variation was calculated to study the intra-subject variability and the intra-class correlation coefficient to assess the reliability of the indices. Two-way repeated measurement ANOVA tests were performed for all indices in order to ascertain the effects of force and direction on the trajectories. Duration of movement, length ratio and speed metric have proven to be the most repeatable and reliable indices. Considering the force fields, subjects were able to optimize the trajectory in terms of duration and accuracy but not in terms of smoothness. Considering the directions, the best motor performance occurred when the trajectories were performed in the upper quadrant compared to those performed in the lower quadrant.
Cognitive approaches to teaching generate learning through the interaction between the subject and object of study. One of the strategies to create this interaction is related to the application of virtual and augmented reality in the teaching-learning processes. Through a systematic literature review, this work aims to describe the approaches used to measure the impacts on student learning who used virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in the teaching-learning processes of engineering courses, the impacts on learning, and student satisfaction. The surveys showed that 70% of research analyzed, students who used virtual reality or augmented reality learned more, and 90% of the research described that students who used virtual or augmented reality were more satisfied with the new approach than the traditional teaching approach. The conclusion is that there are positive impacts, in the vast majority of cases, on learning and the satisfaction of students who use virtual or augmented reality in the teaching-learning processes applied in engineering courses.
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Paper aims Structure virtual and augmented reality applications in engineering teaching-learning processes, with emphasis on production engineering, highlighting application gaps. Originality First studies that, to which subjects applied virtual and augmented reality in engineering teaching-learning processes, the gaps of application in production engineering, and a discussion about the impacts. Research method The research method applied was the systematic literature review. Main findings Structuring of virtual or augmented reality applications in engineering, discussion about the application in production engineering, opportunities for future research, how low application affects graduated professional education, consequently, organizational competitiveness. Implications for theory and practice The applications of virtual and augmented reality bring developing student skills more actively and cognitively, making training more complete, increasing their skills, and supporting the competitiveness of organizations through professionals who can contribute more broadly and effectively.
The RETAIN Model is a game design and evaluation model for serious games. In this study, educators evaluated social change web-based and mobile app games using the RETAIN model rubric. In general, web-based games scored higher on the RETAIN rubric than their mobile app counterparts. In addition, the educators analyzed the social change games for their “hidden curriculum.” In some cases, the rubric and “hidden curriculum” contributed to educators altering the way they used the games they had appraised by supplementing context, incorporating discussion, or not using the games at all. The RETAIN model rubric offered educators a tool to evaluate digital games.
The cyber threat to industrial control systems is an acknowledged security issue, but a qualified dataset to quantify the risk remains largely unavailable. Senior executives of facilities that operate these systems face competing requirements for investment budgets, but without an understanding of the nature of the threat, cyber security may not be a high priority. Education and awareness campaigns are established methods of raising the profile of security issues with stakeholders, but traditional techniques typically deliver generic messages to wide audiences, rather than tailoring the communications to those who understand the impact of organisational risks. This paper explores the use of experiential learning through serious games for senior executives, to develop mental models within which participants can frame the nature of the threat, thereby raising their cyber security awareness, and increasing their motivation to address the issue.
Conference Paper
The notion of experiential learning proposes that concrete experiences provide the basis for observation, reflection and abstract conceptualization. As a consequence, knowledge construction is stronger when theoretical concepts are applied in real or quasi-real contexts to consolidate learning. Virtual environments that replicate real contexts or simulate inexistent ones provide effective ways to apply those theoretical concepts. Therefore, the use of Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) environments for learning purposes has been a research matter for the past few years. New technologies provide ways to increase the immersion of the user in those environments. That is, for instance, the case of haptic devices - a tactile sensory interface between a person and a computer. In this article we describe a methodology to integrate these environments in education, providing new and innovative learning methods.
In a recent study, we demonstrated that it is feasible to perform large-scale military training using a commercial off-the-shelf game with low development time and high re-use of training content. Our approach was to focus on using the game environment as a means for enabling interactions between teams of human players, and to elicit complex interactions through the instructions and objectives given to the players rather than through the complexity of the game scenario. Because multi-player games are designed to provide experiences that will entertain and engage a non-captive audience, they latently meet critical requirements for the creation and execution of team training activities. We exploited authoring tools provided with the game to design a relatively simple, "capture-the-flag"-style scenario with minimal game objects and non-player characters. However, we defined several different types of player characters with different tactical strengths and weaknesses, and created two different sets of mission objectives. We conducted a training event in which 40 soldiers played against each other in two teams. Multiple trials were held, and in each trial the mission objectives were provided as verbal instructions to the teams. Pre-mission planning and post mission de-briefing were performed in person. Observation of the event and comments from the soldiers showed a rich set of interactions, a high level of interest, positive training potential for the scenario, and the ability to effectively reuse the same environment for two different sets of mission objectives. Placing the onus of complexity on the participants and using the game as it was intended with no modifications other than simple content design proved effective and economically efficient.
This article considers the opportunities and challenges for designers of business simulation/games afforded by the multicultural environment of the Internet. It is suggested that business games designed for Internet use demand more detailed consideration to be given to their role as tools of communication and to the profile and culture of the end users.