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Can ‘Serious Games’ Be an Effective Tool for Workplace Learning?

University College London (08/23/12)

University College London (UCL) researchers are analyzing TARGET, a computer game that could help workers develop skills such as negotiating and trust building.  TARGET aims to use the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) environment provided by the game to support the development of workers.  In each game, the user interacts with computer-based characters within a three-dimensional virtual environment and has to solve simulated project management missions, tasks, and problems.  “Serious game applications include edutainment, higher education, health care, corporate, military, and non-government organizations,” says UCL researcher Charlene Jennett.  The researchers developed three learning measures, including multiple choice questions, scenario questions, and self-assessment questions, to assess different levels of learning in TARGET.  The researchers’ initial findings suggest that TARGET could be helping learners with interpreting different scenarios in the workplace.  “Our findings also indicate that the TARGET system needs to be further developed in order to improve the experiences of users,” Jennett says.  She notes that not all serious games are effective as learning tools, which demonstrates the value of evaluation activities and “investigating whether a serious game achieves its intended learning outcomes with its intended target audience.”



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