Educational Serious Games Enhance Social Intelligence Through Collective Action: Issue of Digital Transition Might Change Paradigms

Educational Serious Games Enhance Social Intelligence Through Collective Action: Issue of Digital Transition Might Change Paradigms

Walter Nuninger (Université de Lille, France) and Jean-Marie Châtelet (Université de Lille, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1238-8.ch009
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Pedagogical serious games sound like up-to-date pedagogical devices for learning efficiency. But the challenge of higher performance in HE lies in tailored pedagogical devices and their usage for the learning goal; a choice to consider according to the training specifications (learning outcome), the learners' needs, and the trainer's expertise (tailored approach). The guidance by the trainer is a value-added, but a risk-taking activity changing the paradigm with the trainee. Digital integration into serious games is a 4-dimension transition: 1) group characterization facilitation for social intelligence, 2) subliminal learning in a virtual environment for commitment, 3) trainer dashboard based on individual e-preparation for feedback priorization, and 4) automation of events for gameplay and increasing skills. The splitting of space and time constraints is a new opportunity that challenges the trainer's role, changing the usual balance during face-to-face training. The proposed standard for hybrid PSG design should overcome the gaps and guarantee a real benefit from digital technology.
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Learning performance in Higher Education (HE) requires a mix of learner-centered pedagogical approaches (active pedagogy) to first, induce the commitment of the learners in their training path, second, favor compliance with their needs and third, strengthen transversal skills. Among the latter we note: autonomy, problem-solving abilities, intercultural, social and collective intelligence (Davies et al., 2011) for the employable and informed citizens who contribute to the evolution of society (Davies, 2007; Yang et al., 2015), i.e. in the framework of lifelong learning (LLL). This specifically applies to the training courses leading to the French engineer diploma (300 European Credits (ECTS) as a Master’s degree program over 5 years after High School that includes a training period within industry), namely Chartered Engineers. In this case, the repository of competences is defined with respect to two kinds of mission for which the engineer is responsible: those depending on operations and the more generic ones dealing with management. The focus is placed on leadership, ability to lead and manage excellence, thus coaching for management quality; that is, the roles of Mintzberg (1994).

Under the scope of Quality Assurance (QA), pedagogical performance relies on local adjustments based on trainers’ expertise and hybrid solutions, building on well-established solutions like the experiential cycle model by Kolb. This enhances reflective feedback over the experience and active behavior of the learner in the training for personal development and professional style (Kolb & Kolb, 2005). During the formative learning activities, the challenge is to maintain the course momentum to retain the new generations expecting efficiency and quick expertise. This issue refers to the operational learning performance triangle given in Figure 1 in the global framework of Pedagogical Serious Games (PSGs). Indeed, PSGs are efficient devices that put learners into a challenging situation to enhance reflective learning of the individual with collective support. The flexibility this provides (Paquelin, 2017) explains the great popularity with Millennials born after 1977 (Ollivier et al., 2017) for Educational PSGs facilitated through virtual environments but also in the classroom with respect to the development of the group. The underlying request is the mentoring by the trainer, including the debriefing to the group and positive feedback to the individual (Stone & Heen, 2014). The trainer’s responsibility is to initiate the process and maintain momentum, changing the paradigm. The authors’ choice (Nuninger & Châtelet, 2016, 2017) arouses the interest in the integration of PSGs or Digital-PSGs (D-PSGs) into the blended course with upstream preparation or self-education, play then debrief and rehearsal, then downstream activity for individual ownership and assessment. The final Hybrid PSG framework (H-PSG) proposed in this chapter enhances customization to satisfy a larger number of learners of different generations with heterogeneous levels of motivation and previous experience. This innovative choice that will require Learning Analytics (LA) for tutoring facilitation (to develop a learning dashboard as discussed in the final section) will affect the trainer’s teaching style, learners’ behaviors and their relation to personal data for the learning goal (General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR from EU no. 2016/679 applicable from May 25th, 2018).

Figure 1.

Operational learning performance triangle in the framework of pedagogical serious games


Key Terms in this Chapter

Learning Analytics (LA): To understand and optimize the learning process, then improve the pedagogical training environment, LA consists in data collection, analyzing (processing) and reporting of information (inference-drawing) about the learners and their training context (learning content). The issue lies in the moving “ from clicks to constructs ” and the ethics-awareness (and privacy), being accountable and transparent for healthy solutions ( Lang et al., 2017 ).

Learning Dashboard: Like any HMI, dashboards are visual displays for quick and safe information monitoring at a glance for fair decision-making. Thus, only the most important information is provided, consolidated and arranged for the goal. The learning dashboards aim at self-monitoring for learners and awareness for teachers during the training. Then, the challenge of Learning Analytic Dashboard is feedback and guidance at the right moment, based on time tracking and learning resource use for recommendations. The solution lies in the following 3-step process: select and get the necessary data, clean and treat the data for the objectives, then visualize the right way (design for usability, reduce non-data pixels but enhance the data pixels).

ONAAG©: French acronym of the innovative and learner-centered project “Outil Numérique d’Appui de l’Auto-Formation Guidée ” (Digital Support for Guided Self-Learning) developed by Nuninger (2017) in order to facilitate knowledge acquisition and autonomy, stressing the interest of collaborative work in a secured environment. The core of the pedagogical device is a set of learning activities of gradual complexity synchronized on Moodle, mixing hypertext lecture with educational videos such as recorded video of solutions with iterative whiteboard and voice-over narration for verbalization and anchorage to emphasize reasoning. The focus is put on knowledge (ONAAG-1), but for specific skills in a field, it is complemented by a challenge in a dedicated workspace for case studies. It is built by the editorial chain Topaz (ScenariChain) to develop problem-solving ability and free decision-making (ONAAG-2). The project was supported by the University of Lille from 2014-2017.

Play Bricks or Brick-Play: Are functionally pre-defined parts of the Hybrid-PSG to be chosen and assembled with respect to the decided pedagogical scenario and game storyline. The core principle of bricks is the initial play-phase of a game for a decided goal, but the implementation differs with respect to the level of digital integration and purpose. The art of the trainer is to aggregate the bricks in a smart way to keep the gameplay spirit during the space-time continuum.

Blended Classroom: The approach mixes learning with asynchronous and synchronous activities. First, the students study topics. Secondly, they apply the knowledge by solving problems during tutored activities; learning by doing and by interactions with others. Hybrid courses integrate digital support for self-education and distance learning (for instance ONAAG in our context).

Pedagogical Serious Mini-Games (mGs): The mGs follow the same design process of PSGs that put parties into a playful and challenging context, but respecting higher constraints: fixed scenario leaving little room to adapt, limited number of quick play-sessions with known events and a short duration to be respected. The mGs mainly focus on knowledge with continuous monitoring and feedback. The growing complexity of a set of interrelated mGs will strengthen reflective attitude and collective work, turning the course into a PSG of long duration.

Hybrid Pedagogical Serious Game (H-PSG): It is an innovative framework for PSGs, mixing the benefits of mGs and long duration games, such as TQ-Gs, to cover a wide range of learning outcomes, from discovery of new concepts up to professional expertise with awareness of personal learning style. The selection of functional play-bricks for the goal ensures flexibility with respect to time, space and group evolution. The bricks’ limits depend on the resources to implement an immersive 3D environment with collected data from the usage and data mining to predict progression, develop subliminal guidance and propose a virtual agent to embody the facilitator role, changing the paradigm with the assessment issues.

Pole of Expertise (PoE): The learning organization presented by Nuninger et al. (2016) for HE providers stresses the following poles to achieve performance under the steering committee. The Corporate Services (CS) interoperate with the Reception Services (RS) in charge of recruitment of talents, the Pole of Expertise (PoE) responsible for upstream development for educational change initiatives and the Pole of Training Realization (PTR) carrying out the training project.

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