Can 'serious games' be an effective tool for workplace learning?

Aug 24, 2012
Can 'serious games' be an effective tool for workplace learning?
TARGET game screenshot featuring the character Andy.  The speech bubble for Andy reads “Yes, we had a nice discussion.  I believe that I understand the situation better now.  I’ll get more information later.”

Researchers from UCL are analysing a serious game called TARGET to see if it could help workers develop skills such as negotiating and trust-building in the workplace. 

are video games designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. A collaborative project between 17 partners, including UCL, TARGET aims to use the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) environment provided by the to support the development of workers.

Recommending specific sub-games or missions for each learner to play, the TARGET system helps them develop skills in project management and innovation.  For each game, the learner interacts with computer-based characters within a 3D and encounters simulated project management missions, tasks and problems.  

"There is currently a lot of interest in serious games such as TARGET as they have the potential to provide an engaging learning context for learners.  Serious game applications include edutainment, higher education, health care, corporate, military and non-government organisations," said Dr Charlene Jennett (UCL Computer Science).

"However not all serious games are found to be effective .  This is why evaluation activities are so important, investigating whether a serious game achieves its intended learning outcomes with its intended ," she added.

The UCL team have created three learning measures—multiple choice questions, scenario questions and self-assessment questions—to assess different levels of learning in TARGET.  Piloting the measures with seven MSc students from a variety of different courses, each with a project management component, the team's initial findings suggest that TARGET could be helping learners with interpreting different scenarios in the workplace.  Participants were also found to have a better understanding of the positions and interests of the characters after playing the game.

"These early findings suggest that some learning is taking place.  However it is a very small sample so we have to be cautious when interpreting these results," said Dr Charlene Jennett. "Our findings also indicate that the TARGET system needs to be further developed in order to improve the experiences of users.  In particular, the dialogue of the TARGET game characters needs to be improved to make player-character interactions more realistic."

The UCL team will be collaborating with partners ATOS and SINTEF to evaluate the TARGET game with a bigger sample later this year. 

Explore further: Software provides a clear overview in long documents

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Computer turns into boardgame master of all it surveys

Jul 10, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Igniting interest in computer logic and gaming, a paper titled “Learning Games from Videos Guided by Descriptive Complexity” shows how computer systems can successfully learn how to ...

Computer games can teach schools some lessons

Feb 19, 2010

Some parents might see video games as an impediment to children keeping up with their schoolwork. James Gee, however, thinks video games are some of the best learning environments around. He says that if schools adopted some ...

UQ study confirms dangers of violent video games

Oct 31, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- New research by Dr. Brock Bastian from UQ's School of Psychology has found evidence that playing violent video games leads players to see themselves, and their opponents, as lacking in core human qualities ...

Video game playing tied to creativity

Nov 02, 2011

Both boys and girls who play video games tend to be more creative, regardless of whether the games are violent or nonviolent, according to new research by Michigan State University scholars.

Recommended for you

T-Mobile deal helps Rhapsody hit 2M paying subs

1 hour ago

(AP)—Rhapsody International Inc. said Tuesday its partnership with T-Mobile US Inc. has helped boost its number of paying subscribers to more than 2 million, up from 1.7 million in April.

Airbnb woos business travelers

1 hour ago

Airbnb on Monday set out to woo business travelers to its service that lets people turn unused rooms in homes into de facto hotel space.

Google searches hold key to future market crashes

12 hours ago

A team of researchers from Warwick Business School and Boston University have developed a method to automatically identify topics that people search for on Google before subsequent stock market falls.

Lenovo's smart glasses prototype has battery at neck

14 hours ago

China's PC giant Lenovo last week offered a peek at its Google Glass-competing smart glass prototype, further details of which are to be announced in October. Lenovo's glasses prototype is not an extreme ...

User comments : 0