Requirements-Based Design of Serious Games and Learning Software: An Introduction to the Vegas Effect

Requirements-Based Design of Serious Games and Learning Software: An Introduction to the Vegas Effect

Brock Randall Dubbels (McMaster University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7461-3.ch001


A serious game can be entertaining and enjoyable, but it is designed to facilitate the acquisition of skills and knowledge performance in the workplace, classroom, or therapeutic context. Claims of improvement can be validated through assessments successful, measurable practice beyond the game experience, the targeted context of the workplace, classroom, or clinical using the same tools as multiple traits and multiple measure (MTMM) models. This chapter provides a post-mortem describing the development of the initial design and development of a measurable model to inform the design requirements for validation for a serious game. In this chapter, the reader will gain insight into the implementation of lean process, design thinking, and field observations for generative research. This data informs the assessments and measurement of performance, validated through the MTMM model criteria for requirements. The emphasis examines the role of research insights for onboarding and professional development of newly hired certified nursing assistants in a long-term care facility.
Chapter Preview


This article provides a post mortem for developing serious games to answer the question:

How do you know your serious game had the intended impact?

This chapter builds upon this theme to emphasize the importance of a Lean Process approach, when integrated with Design Thinking, User Experience Research, traditional psychology and psychometrics, and Agile Development. These approaches to product design potentially provide a synthesis to reduce uncertainty, facilitate action, increase transparency, flexibility, velocity, and learning.



In the case study presented here as a post-mortem, the five different fields are presented and synthesized to present an approach to developing a video game to train inexperienced care-givers to become effective certified nursing assistants.

One of the foundations of serious games is that they deliver on a claim. If a claim is made that performance, training, or a health outcome is improved, it must be observable inside the game—the activity is the assessment in a serious game (Dubbels, 2016; 2017)—and that the improvement from playing in the game transfers to improvement in the wild of the non-digital world, and measurable with the same models from the game. This makes a case for having evidence-supported requirements. Although this is not always possible initially, research techniques can be used to generate and test insights as part of an iterative process, culminating incremental improvement of requirements, models, and testing as part of a build, measure, learn process(Ries, 2011, 2013) If we do not have a clear understanding of the activities and how to model and measure the behavior we want out users to learn, we are essentially throwing the dice, hoping we guessed correctly. This does not have to be the case, as there is a history of user research to reduce risk and uncertainty in developing and designing games.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: