Serious Games Applied to Project Management Teaching

Serious Games Applied to Project Management Teaching

André Raabe (Universidade do Vale do Itajai, Brazil), Eliana Santos (Universidade do Vale do Itajai, Brazil), Lauriana Paludo (Universidade do Vale do Itajai, Brazil) and Fabiane Benitti (Universidade do Vale do Itajai, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4153-2.ch076

Abstract

The main focus of this chapter is to report studies that explain how to develop serious games and use them in teaching and learning. The focus has been on undergraduate teaching, experience with which the authors detail in this chapter related to the topic of Project Management. This contribution aims to share experiences and also to assess what has been done by proposing a set of recommendations for development and use of serious games in teaching practices in undergraduate education.
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Introduction

In this chapter we present our experience from research conducted to elucidate how to develop serious games and use them in teaching and learning. Our research focus has been producing educational software to support the teaching of topics related to the formation of professionals in the area of Information Technology.

The group of researchers of the Applied Computer Science master degree program at UNIVALI has been developing and evaluating educational games (or serious games) to aid the learning of topics related to software engineering. In former research we have produced games for themes such as:

  • Life cycle models (Benitti and Molléri, 2008),

  • Measurement of software quality (Wangenheim, Thiry and Kochanski, 2009), and

  • Software testing (Silva, 2010; Diniz, 2010).

Our motivation for using games as educational resources consider the following aspects:

  • Students in IT typically have affinity and knowledge related to games, their rules and challenges (Phelps, Egert and Bayliss, 2009),

  • Games allow to explore in classroom situations difficult to approach (budgets limits, time control, team management, etc...) (Gibson, Aldrich and Prensk, 2007);

  • Games promote an increase in motivation that can foster interest by the topic under study (Lawrence, 2004), and

  • Digital games allow to co-relate the subject to be taught with the game story bridging theory and praxis (Navarro and Hoek, 2005).

Summarizing, games are engaging. They motivate students using entertainment, and this is a part of the natural learning process in human development (Kim, Park and Baek, 2009).

Susi, Johannesson and Backlund (2007) found that the term “serious game” emerged from the “Serious Games Initiative” in 2002 (seriousgames.org) providing the following description of serious games: “The Serious Games Initiative is focused on uses for games in exploring management and leadership challenges facing the public sector. Part of its overall charter is to help forge productive links between the electronic game industry and projects involving the use of games in education, training, health, and public policy”. Today, in computer science, we find games for teaching contents related to different computational areas, i.e., Computing Fundamentals (Sindri, Natvig and Jahre, 2009), Programming (Muratet, 2011) and Operating System (Hill et al. 2003). In special, when we considering the use of games in Software Engineering, we find more than 20 games developed for support the teaching of different contents in this area, like Software Requirement (Smith and Gotel, 2008; Hainey et al., 2011) and Development Process (Baker, Navarro and Hoek, 2005; Ye, Liu and Polack-Wahl, 2007; Benitti, 2011). It is important to note that the initial focus of serious games area was directed to management and leadership development and this trend remains in the Software Engineering games, as can be seen in Wangenhein and Shull (2009) and Steele (2009).

Since project management is one of the most popular areas of serious games development, we had a vast research material available. But what can we learn from what has been accomplished? How we can advance the research on serious games for project management? Trying to answer this question, this chapter presents in the section two concepts related to project management necessary to understand the research activities conducted.

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