Designing Effective Serious Games: Opportunities and Challenges for Research

Francesco Bellotti, Riccardo Berta, Alessandro De Gloria


Serious Games represent an acknowledged potential for instruction, because they are able to strongly motivate learners. They can also provide immersive environments where advanced users can practice knowledge and skills, also exploiting multimodal interaction. They can combine the effectiveness of computer processing and data storage, with high levels of attractiveness. Our work has investigated the state of the art research on SGs, starting from the cognitive aspects, that are necessary in order to root technological development and applications in sound theoretical foundations. The paper discusses some key aspects about SG design and exploitation: choice of components-off-the-shelf or from-scratch design, tools and methodologies for development or adaptation, intelligent tutoring, virtual coaches and affective learning, living worlds, game mechanics, Human-Computer Interaction.
While several SGs have been developed, still the literature stresses a lack of significant, extensive user tests. Further research is necessary to investigate in greater detail the real effectiveness of the various types of SGs. The paper proposes several research questions - that range from requirements elicitation to design and from deployment to use and evaluation - to be answered in order to avoid technology pushing and drive technological research according to the requirements of the end-users and stakeholders.
We believe that deepening the analysis about these issues is key to strengthen the foundations of SG research, for which we identify four major directions: definition of metrics and learning progress evaluation tools; methodologies and tools for designing games from various topics and for various users; computing and communication architectures; technologies that can enhance the overall system performance.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Francesco Bellotti, Riccardo Berta, Alessandro De Gloria

International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET) – eISSN: 1863-0383
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