Course Info

Course Description

Like any other instructional solution, a game should be carefully designed, developed, and implemented to facilitate learning. The goal of a serious game is not only to create an immersive and engaging experience for learners, but also for them to achieve a specific learning outcome. Game designers have a strong understanding of game goals, core dynamics, game mechanics and game elements. But this does not guarantee a serious game if designers do not possess solid instructional design skills. This course starts with an introduction of what serious games are, followed by a close look into the interplay between cellular and molecular storage mechanisms and the cognitive neuroscience of memory and learning. This is followed by a peek at why people play and the motivational theories that interpret this behavior. Students are then briefed on game design fundamentals, with a focus on iterative design approach, playtest and the need for assessment. This course takes an evidence-based approach towards information that comprises critical thinking about and critical reading of information to review what research says about the current games, particularly for healthcare applications. At the end of the course, students will be competent to execute a well-informed, evidence-based approach towards the instructional design and development of a serious game.

Learning Objectives

  1. To recognize that although a serious game is designed for the purpose of enhancing user engagement and immersive experience, it requires an instructional design approach with a specific learning objective.
  2. To describe the interplay between cellular and molecular storage mechanisms and the cognitive neuroscience of memory and learning, particularly how the brain supports these processes.
  3. To discuss how learning and motivational theories support the use of games for learning.
  4. To apply Serious Games Design Assessment Framework (SGDA) in assessing serious games.
  5. To use critical thinking to evaluate what current research says about serious games, in particular for healthcare applications.
  6. To design, develop, and evaluate a serious game with instructional design knowledge.

Measurable Outcomes

  1. Define serious games and identify differences between serious games, gamification, simulations and commercial games.
  2. Describe key concepts about the anatomy of the brain, nervous system and its relationship to memory and learning.
  3. Examine the psychology of learning and motivational theories underlying serious games. Students will interpret 6 examples of motivational theories, with a clear and concise illustration of the Self Determination Theory (SDT).
  4. Recognize the need for an assessment framework for serious games. Students will identify 7 components of the SGDA framework and apply it to online games.
  5. Interpret, critically analyse and effectively communicate about scientific literature on current and emerging applications of serious games, with a focus on healthcare.
  6. Design and evaluate a serious game on paper using an evidence-based approach and taking into considerations the fundamentals covered throughout this course.