Developing Educational Games for Engineering Education: A Case Study

Developing Educational Games for Engineering Education: A Case Study

Vinod Srinivasan (Texas A&M University, USA), Karen Butler-Purry (Texas A&M University, USA) and Susan Pedersen (Texas A&M University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-495-0.ch042
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Abstract

This chapter presents an experience with the development of an educational game focusing on digital systems design for undergraduate electrical engineering students. The project was motivated by the ineffectiveness of traditional instructional methods, particularly in engineering education and research, indicating that educational games have the potential to improve learning and motivation among players. The chapter presents an overview of the literature on engineering education and game-based learning, followed by a detailed look into the process by which this project was approached, starting from obtaining funding for the project to the actual design, development, implementation, and assessment of the game itself. The emphasis in this chapter will be on the challenges faced and the lessons learned during the course of this ongoing project. The challenges are common to other similar projects, and the lessons learned can provide valuable guidelines to other researchers and educators engaged in similar endeavors.
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Introduction

In this chapter we present our experience with the development of an educational game for electrical engineering students in a formal educational setting at the undergraduate level. The subject matter for the game is digital systems design, which addresses several complex concepts that students find difficult to grasp. Our goal was to develop a game that could be used to supplement the laboratory portion of courses that deal with this topic. Preliminary testing indicates that our approach has the potential to produce positive results, both in terms of student learning as well as motivation for the subject matter. We present an overview of the academic issues pertaining to engineering education and game-based learning, followed by a detailed look at the project, starting from obtaining funding to the design, development, implementation and assessment of the game itself. Given that our project is still in the formative stage and a comprehensive evaluation of its impact has not yet been conducted, our objective in this chapter is to document the challenges we faced and the lessons we learned in this ongoing project. The challenges are likely to be common to other similar projects. This chapter will provide guidelines to other researchers and educators engaged in similar endeavors.

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