What’s in a game

Are you globally competent?

On realising there still is a lot to be gained in terms of effective professional interaction between students in her programme, researcher and OLC Giuliana Scuderi came up with an innovative idea. “Would it be possible to enhance students’ global competencies (think of communication and perspective taking) through a range of fun interactive scenarios that can be played through and scored as a game?”

She gathered a team of enthusiastic colleagues and students and made a R&D project plan, involving research, design and implementation. The HZ Advisory Board also acknowledged the potential and allotted some of the HZ budget for innovation to her team which also includes ICT and education specialists. Today we speak with Giuliana and two of the students in the team: Paula Janeka and Max Foy.

The past months were used for research (using desk research and focus groups) into the desired competencies, development of the scenarios/game chapters and learning goals, and design of the ICT environment (called ‘Culture up’ in Moodle). “The most exciting part is about to start, which of course involves having students play the game and study programmes link the student’s learning in their curricula.” The game comprises of a 20 week ‘program’ that can be spread over one semester, for instance coupled to HZ Personality. The full pilot starts in September for Civil Engineering and Water Management.

What is shown in the graphics in this HZ Discovery article is just the tip of the iceberg. Giuliana showed us a lot of content during the interview: different levels, a range of game designs (i.e. ‘Investigation’, ‘Case study’ and ‘Role play’), all sorts of cartoon like clickable pictures, videos, scoring sheets… Quite impressive. “It was a lot of work, but we really enjoyed the creative dimension of it” Max commented. “And testing the new game chapters of another subteam was always fun” Paula added.

But it is not just fun that is aimed for. “That part is important to assure every student’s motivation, but our goal really is for the students to learn on how best to interact in international settings. Therefore we will carefully measure and study the effects during implementation and roll-out, using surveys, observation and the game results.” Giuliana indicated that for optimal educational outcomes they use a hybrid approach: the on-line part is also complemented with real life off-line community.

“If anybody wants to know and see more, or potentially participate, feel free to contact us!”