Providing Career Guidance to Adolescents through Digital Games: A Case Study

Providing Career Guidance to Adolescents through Digital Games: A Case Study

Ian Dunwell (Coventry University Coventry, UK), Petros Lameras (Coventry University Coventry, UK), Sara de Freitas (Coventry University Coventry, UK), Panos Petridis (Coventry University Coventry, UK), Maurice Hendrix (Coventry University Coventry, UK), Sylvester Arnab (Coventry University Coventry, UK) and Kam Star (PlayGen, UK)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8200-9.ch100


In an evolving global workplace, it is increasingly important for graduates and school-leavers to possess an understanding of the job market, their relevant skills, and career progression paths. However, both the marketplace and career paths are becoming increasingly dynamic, with employees more frequently moving between sectors and positions than was the case for previous generations. The concept of a “job for life” at a single organization is becoming less prevalent across sectors and cultures. In such a context, traditional approaches to career guidance, which often focused upon identifying a suitable occupation for adolescents at an early stage and establishing a route towards it, are being challenged with the need to communicate the value of transferrable skills and non-linear progression paths. This article explores the role digital games might play in allowing learners to develop these skills as part of a wider careers guidance programme. Through a case study of the “MeTycoon” serious game, the potential reach of such games is discussed, with 38,097 visits to the game's website, and 408,247 views of embedded educational videos. An online survey of players (n=97) gives some insight into their opinions of the game's impact and appeal, with positive comments regarding the design of the game and its emphasis on creating an enjoyable gaming experience whilst providing educational content.
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The 2013 NMC Horizon Report (Johnson, 2013) asserts the perspective that games are effective tools for increasing student’s motivation and engagement by involving them in a memorable learning experience. A serious game can be defined as “a game in which education (in its various forms) is the primary goal, rather than entertainment” (Michael, 2006). Concept scaffolding and simulation of real world experiences may allow the a student to solve problems and enhance their subsequent performance (Ferreira, Palhares, & Silva, 2013). As an example, a survey of 264 students playing an online educational game (Huang, Huang, & Tschopp, 2010) found a relationship between reward and motive. Further studies (Schaffer, 2004) have shown that games can support novel approaches to learning by scaffolding players’ experiences in new worlds, allowing them to learn by trying to solve loosely defined problems inside the game. This brings to the fore the notion of ‘learning by doing’. Other authors (Hwang, 2012) have argued that pedagogically-driven games reflect strong commitment to educational values and have great potential to drive students in achieving intended learning outcomes.

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