The Design and Development of a TBMR Game

The Design and Development of a TBMR Game

Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 51
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3689-5.ch005


This chapter revisits the concepts and elements important in game design, in particular in relation to a new educational game called Simulation of Business Strategy (SiBS) developed for students of business innovation. The Learning Objectives (LOs) ethos and content of a teaching module called Management of Engineering and Technology Innovation (METI) delivered to second year undergraduates are explained. These are used as the basis for the design of the SiBS game and its subsequent evaluation trials on a cohort of 101 undergraduate students. The stages of game design and development are described, starting with the scenario based on a project to establish and expand a company manufacturing a product and selling to the retail trade. Decisions were required from small teams on issues such as pricing, financing, parts supply, marketing and quality, Key features are identified that will enhance the motivation to learn, such as challenge, collaboration, competition, goal-setting and feedback.
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Eseryel et al. state that “There are very few game evaluation models available for the educational game designers” (Eseryel et al., 2012: p 282). This chapter looks at existing game design frameworks in the context of the process of designing and developing a new game referred to as SiBS (Simulation of Business Strategy) which was subsequently used for game evaluation trials, the actual sequence of the trials and findings being described later in this chapter. These assessment trials were conducted during the academic year 2012-2013 within the School of Engineering Design and Manufacturing Systems (EDMS) at Birmingham City University (BCU), Birmingham, U.K. The three sequential processes of design, development and evaluation of the game were the subject of a wider research study to evaluate games of the Team Based Mixed Reality (TBMR) genre in which participants, working in small teams, manage an operation such as a business or project and are required to take decisions in each of a number of cycles. Such games are often computer-assisted, with the results displayed and tutor feedback provided at each stage. The focus on team-based games in this study is driven by the increasing importance placed on teamwork both in industry and those areas of higher education where experiential learning is delivered. The overall study was planned as three phases:

  • Phase I: A number of games of the TBMR genre currently in use in Higher Education (HE) institutions were studied, seven in all, four at the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), Warwick University, Coventry, U.K. and three at Birmingham City University (BCU), Birmingham, U.K. Student satisfaction surveys were conducted in each case.

  • Phase II: Arising from these surveys and due to other factors set out later, it was decided to design and develop a new game, designated Serious Games Institute Business Simulation (SGIBS) but subsequently changed to Simulation of a Business Strategy (SiBS), to represent the TBMR genre. This was based on the Learning Objectives (LOs) of a teaching module entitled Management of Engineering and Technology Innovation (METI) being delivered at BCU at the time. The game was developed and tested at the Serious Games Institute (SGI), Coventry, U.K. followed by two pilot sessions conducted with postgraduate students at BCU to gain critical feedback and gauge student acceptance, before proceeding with the main evaluation trials with undergraduates at BCU.

  • Phase III: A wider series of surveys and, more importantly, trials to measure the actual learning improvement, if any, was then conducted using the SiBS game with eleven classes of second-year undergraduate students currently taking the METI module, game sessions being conducted with six of the classes, the other five acting as a control group. Pre- and post-tests were used, with sets of questions relating to both subject matter and decision-making. A short post-game satisfaction survey questionnaire was also given to participants in the game classes. Data were analysed for both real improvement and students’ perceptions of the value of the game experience.

The three phases of the study are illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Overall concept of research study


Hypotheses And Rationale

The main research hypothesis (for precise wording see Section 20) was that games of the TBMR genre can add value to participants’ knowledge and/or decision-making skills in HE. In the event, the research study demonstrated that a single session of the SiBS game led to a significant improvement of 11.4% in decision-making by participants (n=50). Few, if any, previous studies have to date demonstrated conclusively that business-related games lead to improvements over traditional methods of learning. This study provides evidence (see Appendix for findings in detail) that these are perceived to be effective learning tools and also provides empirical evidence of how games improve decision-making. In addition it provides evidence that games are more entertaining and motivating than a traditional lesson.

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