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Serious Games Are Becoming Serious Business

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Abstract

It's becoming clear that computer games for learning, or serious games as they have come to be known, have a role to play in the classroom, alongside other teaching and learning resources. But serious games extend beyond the classroom and are being used more and more in the workplace. And in the near future we’re going to see an escalation in serious games in the home, providing thought-provoking and engaging activity available on-line, through social media and apps stores. A recent survey conducted by ESA 2011¹ shows that, surprisingly, more adults between the ages of 18-50 play computer games than kids under the age of 18. On the one hand, it’s easy to dismiss these results because the 18-50 range captures a larger demographic, but this is missing the point. What this clearly shows is that more adults, with an average age of 37, are playing computer games than ever before. In comparison to video games, whose primary function is entertainment, serious games have a purpose, whether it’s to learn, train, inform, persuade, for health and well-being, etc. and serious games are already being used in education, military, with emergency first responders and business just to name a few. For example, IBM has been quick to identify their power. They’ve developed freely available games CityOne and Innov8 to learn, understand and “play” with business concepts and complex systems. Caroline Taylor, IBM UK & Ireland Vice President - Marketing and Communications says serious gaming is especially effective to “train the workforce of tomorrow, give them the skills that they are going to need as well as improving the skills of the people who are already out in the business environment today.” And it appears that not only are serious games effective when it comes to learning, but students are embracing their use in the classroom. Studies carried out at Hwa Chong Institute (an independent high school) in Singapore, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Education Arcade, have shown that students have increased learning and fun², and appear to be highly motivated when serious games are blended with other computer-based teaching and learning resources in the classroom³. As one teacher said in a survey, “the digital natives in classes can’t get enough of ICT tools”. Results from the most recent study will be presented at the Serious Games Development & Application 2012 conference in Germany in September. Generation Y are now students in our universities and make up the young workforce. So it makes sense to adopt serious games as an additional teaching, learning and training resource to keep in-step with the “digital natives” and the rise in popularity of computer games or face the prospect of being left behind. In universities, the introduction of computer game design has been a popular approach to boost dwindling student degree enrolment numbers and provide a competitive edge over counterparts offering similar, if not identical, curricular. Likewise, the introduction of serious games (incorporating topics of gamification) is expected to help attract students and sustain student numbers, as well as provide skills that are essential for the future of business and education. So how and what can we learn from serious games? The simple answer is where there is a system, it can be made into a game and gameplay allows us to learn about its complexities in an engaging, thought-provoking and entertaining way. Tim Marsh researches and lectures game design and human-computer interaction. He has collaborated on various serious games research projects including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and consults and advises on serious games, in addition to research and development of serious game simulation to explore and learn about data from the reef in Australia (presented at Coast to Coast 2012 in Brisbane.) He is also the co-editor of the book Trends and applications of serious games and social media 2014. His website is: www.seriousgames.sg 1. ESA2011. Entertainment Software Association. Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry 2. Tim Marsh, Li Zhiqiang Nickole, Eric Klopfer, Chuang Xuejin, Scot Osterweil, Jason Haas. 2011. Fun and Learning: The Power of Narrative, Foundations of Digital Games 2011 (FDG2011), Bordeaux, France. 3. Tim Marsh, Li Nickole Zhiqiang, Eric Klopfer, Jason Haas 2012. Blended in-games and off-game learning: assimulating serious games in the classroom and curriculum. Serious Games Development & Applications, SGDA2012, Germany
October 2012
MORE THAN A LEISURELY PASTIME
WRITTEN BY TIM MARSH PHD.
Technology
SERIOUS
GAMES ARE
BECOMING
SERIOUS
BUSINESS
Serious Games, Serious Business
I
T’S BECOMING CLEAR THAT
COMPUTER games for learning,
or serious games as they have
come to be known, have a role
to play in the classroom, alongside
other teaching and learning
resources. But serious games extend
beyond the classroom and are
being used more and more in the
workplace. And in the near future
we’re going to see an escalation
in serious games in the home,
providing thought-provoking and
engaging activity available on-line,
through social media sites and apps
stores. A recent survey conducted by
ESA 2011¹ shows that, surprisingly,
more adults between the ages of
18-50 play computer games than
kids under the age of 18. On the
one hand, it’s easy to dismiss these
results because the 18-50 range
captures a larger demographic, but
this is missing the point. What this
clearly shows is that more adults,
with an average age of 37, are
playing computer games than ever
before.
Technology
Visit us online at www.businessreviewaustralia.com
Serious Games, Serious Business
October 2012
page 45
through social media sites and apps
stores. A recent survey conducted by
ESA 2011¹ shows that, surprisingly,
more adults between the ages of
18-50 play computer games than
kids under the age of 18. On the
one hand, it’s easy to dismiss these
results because the 18-50 range
captures a larger demographic, but
this is missing the point. What this
clearly shows is that more adults,
with an average age of 37, are
playing computer games than ever
before.
Visit us online at www.businessreviewaustralia.com
In comparison to video games, whose primary function is
entertainment, serious games have a purpose, whether it’s to learn,
train, inform, persuade, for health and well-being, etc. and serious
games are already being used in education, military, with emergency
first responders and business just to name a few. For example, IBM
has been quick to identify their power. They’ve developed freely
available games CityOne and Innov8 to learn, understand and “play”
with business concepts and complex systems. Caroline Taylor, IBM
UK & Ireland Vice President - Marketing and Communications says
serious gaming is especially effective to “train the workforce of
tomorrow, give them the skills that they are going to need as well as
improving the skills of the people who are already out in the business
environment today.”
And it appears that not only are serious games effective when
it comes to learning, but students are embracing their use in the
classroom. Studies carried out at Hwa Chong Institute (an independent
high school) in Singapore, in collaboration with the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Education Arcade, have shown that
students have increased learning and fun², and appear to be highly
Technology Serious Games, Serious Business
October 2012
In comparison to video games, whose primary function is
entertainment, serious games have a purpose, whether it’s to learn,
train, inform, persuade, for health and well-being, etc. and serious
games are already being used in education, military, with emergency
first responders and business just to name a few. For example, IBM
has been quick to identify their power. They’ve developed freely
available games CityOne and Innov8 to learn, understand and “play”
with business concepts and complex systems. Caroline Taylor, IBM
UK & Ireland Vice President - Marketing and Communications says
serious gaming is especially effective to “train the workforce of
tomorrow, give them the skills that they are going to need as well as
improving the skills of the people who are already out in the business
environment today.”
And it appears that not only are serious games effective when
it comes to learning, but students are embracing their use in the
classroom. Studies carried out at Hwa Chong Institute (an independent
high school) in Singapore, in collaboration with the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Education Arcade, have shown that
students have increased learning and fun², and appear to be highly
page 47
Serious Games, Serious Business
motivated when serious games are blended with other computer-
based teaching and learning resources in the classroom³. As one
teacher said in a survey, “the digital natives in classes can’t get
enough of ICT tools”. Results from the most recent study will
be presented at the Serious Games Development & Application
2012 conference in Germany in September.
Generation Y are now students in our universities and make
up the young workforce. So it makes sense to adopt serious
games as an additional teaching, learning and training resource
to keep in-step with the “digital natives” and the rise in
popularity of computer games or face the prospect of being left
behind.
In universities, the introduction of computer game design
has been a popular approach to boost dwindling student
degree enrolment numbers and provide a competitive edge
over counterparts offering similar, if not identical, curricular.
Likewise, the introduction of serious games (incorporating topics
of gamification) is expected to help attract students and sustain
student numbers, as well as provide skills that are essential for
the future of business and education.
Technology
Visit us online at www.businessreviewaustralia.com
Serious Games, Serious Business
motivated when serious games are blended with other computer-
based teaching and learning resources in the classroom³. As one
teacher said in a survey, “the digital natives in classes can’t get
enough of ICT tools”. Results from the most recent study will
be presented at the Serious Games Development & Application
2012 conference in Germany in September.
Generation Y are now students in our universities and make
up the young workforce. So it makes sense to adopt serious
games as an additional teaching, learning and training resource
to keep in-step with the “digital natives” and the rise in
popularity of computer games or face the prospect of being left
behind.
In universities, the introduction of computer game design
has been a popular approach to boost dwindling student
degree enrolment numbers and provide a competitive edge
over counterparts offering similar, if not identical, curricular.
Likewise, the introduction of serious games (incorporating topics
of gamification) is expected to help attract students and sustain
student numbers, as well as provide skills that are essential for
the future of business and education.
October 2012
page 49
More adults
between the ages
of 18-50 play
computer games
than kids under
the age of 18
Tim Marsh PhD.
Serious Games, Serious Business
Visit us online at www.businessreviewaustralia.com
So how and what can we learn from serious
games? The simple answer is where there is a
system, it can be made into a game and gameplay
allows us to learn about its complexities in an
engaging, thought-provoking and entertaining way.
1. ESA2011. Entertainment Soft ware
Association. Essential Facts About the Computer
and Video Game Industry
2. Tim Marsh, Li Zhiqiang Nickole, Eric Klopfer,
Chuang Xuejin, Scot Osterweil, Jason Haas. 2011.
Fun and Learning: The Power of Narrative,
Foundations of Digital Games 2011 (FDG2011),
Bordeaux, France.
3. Tim Marsh, Li Nickole Zhiqiang, Eric
Klopfer, Jason Haas 2012. Blended in-games
and off-game learning: assimulating serious
games in the classroom and curriculum. Serious
Games Development & Applications, SGDA2012,
Germany.
Technology Serious Games, Serious Business
October 2012
page 51
Serious Games, Serious Business
... Within the field of health, serious games have been identified as providing an additional means of encouraging interest in training, education, and assessment of performance (Wattanasoontorn, Boada, Garcia, & Sbert, 2013). Serious games for health are appearing in a number of contexts including emergency responders (Knight et al., 2010;Wade-Hahn, 2006), patient treatment adherence (Artioli, Berta, De Gloria, Pomicino, & Secco, 2013;Hawn, 2009;Howell, 2005;Kost, 2001), professional education (Brunot-Gohin, Augeard, Aoun, & Plantec, 2013), surgical procedures (Lewis, 2007;Marsh, 2012;Pasquier et al., 2016;Wattanasoontorn et al., 2013), and improving health-related knowledge and selfmanagement (Charlier et al., 2016). Much of the existing literature refers to the use of serious games for the support, psychoeducation, and raising of awareness of patients and healthcare consumers. ...
Article
The education of healthcare professionals is critical for the safe delivery of services to patients (Ricciardi & de Paolis, 2014). Postgraduate psychology students undertaking a professional degree encounter a steep learning curve when transitioning from theoretical knowledge to professional practice. This beginning student stage of development is fraught with anxiety and high-stress levels, and has implications for both student and client wellbeing (Skovholt & Ronnestad, 2003). Successful navigation of this phase is critical to psychology graduate competence and employability, with potentially lasting consequences for psychologists’ perceptions of self-efficacy and career trajectory (De Stefano et al., 2007; Skovholt & Ronnestad, 2003). Serious games in health provide the potential for safe practice opportunities in an engaging and entertaining manner (Hawn, 2009; Knight et al., 2010). The author developed a serious game with the intention of providing postgraduate professional psychology students with increased and more convenient opportunity to practice psychological competencies. This paper synthesises game design theory into a prototype for educators to provide innovative solutions in a health context. It contributes to the body of research determining the efficacy of games in educational contexts and advances knowledge in the use of simulation pedagogies.
Full-text available
Conference Paper
This paper describes a comparative study to investigate the efficacy of interactive games, non-interactive media and traditional instructional teaching on mathematics and science learning with high school students (aged 13-14). Utilizing a blended in-game (narrative and puzzle games) and off-game (machinima/animation and teacher) learning approach to assess the efficacy, together with survey of teachers' opinions on the introduction of serious games and blended learning approaches, the results shed some light on the integration / assimilate of serious games into the classroom and curriculum.
Full-text available
Article
This paper describes the results of a comparative study carried out in a Singapore High School to test four versions of our game for learning, to investigate the effectiveness of puzzle and narrative-based games in engaging students, how the games affect their learning experience and their understanding of the physics concepts of displacement and velocity. It outlines the development of four game versions and in particular, describes the introduction of an off-screen character to help reach a synergy of fun and learning through an optimal blend of design and development dimensions (e.g. constructionist and instructionist learning, hidden/incidental and direct/explicit learning). The off-screen character achieves this through narration of an extended narrative/story intertwoven with aspects of the learning topics -- displacement and velocity. In this way the character's purpose is twofold; firstly, as part of the storyline and secondly, as learning partner or assistant.
Fun and Learning: The Power of Narrative Blended in-games and off-game learning: assimulating serious games in the classroom and curriculum
  • Eric Li Zhiqiang Nickole
  • Chuang Klopfer
  • Scot Xuejin
  • Jason Osterweil
  • Haas
ESA2011. Entertainment Software Association. Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry 2. Tim Marsh, Li Zhiqiang Nickole, Eric Klopfer, Chuang Xuejin, Scot Osterweil, Jason Haas. 2011. Fun and Learning: The Power of Narrative, Foundations of Digital Games 2011 (FDG2011), Bordeaux, France. 3. Tim Marsh, Li Nickole Zhiqiang, Eric Klopfer, Jason Haas 2012. Blended in-games and off-game learning: assimulating serious games in the classroom and curriculum. Serious Games Development & Applications, SGDA2012, Germany. Technology Serious Games,