HES-SO.4

GADEMAVO

Long Title: New tools for new students: GAme about DEcision MAking Adapted to Various Learning cOntexts
Leading
Organization:
Haute École Spécialisée de Suisse occidentale
Domain: ELS
Status: finished
Start Date: 15.08.2012
End Date: 30.04.2013
Project Leader: A-D. Salamin

GADEMAVO is an online serious game template dedicated to problem solving and decision-making, adaptable to various learning contexts. It enables people without programming skills to generate a serious game related to their own professional and teaching context.

Results

Component Description
GADEMAVO Game: web application for desktop and mobile platforms (ipad etc.); user documentation
Source Code is available upon request at e-learning center HES-SO Cyberlearn (adominique.salamin@hes-so.ch)

GADEMAVO offers a great value to any professor who would like to help his students improving their capability in problem solving and decision-making. The game is very simple to implement without high computing competence.
Even if this topic is not teached as such in the syllabus, it is important in a world where students are overwhelmed with huge amount of information, to be able to select the adequate pieces of information, hierarchize them and take accurate decisions.
GADEMAVO is related to professional contexts (health, communication, computing etc.) and offers various multimedia resources to illustrate a specific case to be solved.

The use of the tool in a blended learning environment facilitates its implementation, since very complex parts (e.g. assessment and feedback) are meant to be performed in classroom and not distantly.

The e-learning center HES-SO Cyberlearn will ensure system maintenance and dissemination throughout HES-SO and other HES.
As future activities are planned:

  • translation in German and English (fall semester 2013),
  • dissemination activities (blog, webinar, conference contributions, multimedia resources development support at HES-SO, training sessions at Swiss HEI's on request)
  • large scale tests in the classroom with 4 professors and survey evaluating if and how the use of the game increases student's motivation and learning capability,
  • improvement of minor functionalities related to navigation and automatic access to problem solving tools.

Initial Situation

One of the main challenges in the curriculum HES is to train future professionals able to understand concrete problems, sometimes critical, to sort and organize a plethora of information and make appropriate decisions in extremely fast and changing situations.
This kind of theoretical and practical approach is especially based on the expertise to decode and integrate the theoretical elements covered in the curriculum and to adapt their application to quick and critical professional contexts.
Skills to solve problems in real life contexts are: understand and select relevant information, link valuable information, build or apply a concept, solve the problem and evaluate, justify and communicate solutions. The ultimate goal of problem-solving is to overcome obstacles and find a solution that best resolves the issue. A large part of the decision-making process relies on the analysis of a set of alternatives and criteria.
Teaching experiences show that students regularly express difficulty in transferring theory to professional practice particularly in crisis or emergency. GADEMAVO aims at preparing them to improve this competence.
Globally serious games are unique productions designed on request of a specific company. Different templates exist, but they intend to help game producers to realize new games and are rarely devoted to professors to adapt a game to their teaching context without showing programming skills. Most of them allow people to produce easy various games, but not serious games, and very few of them are related to decision-making on professional context used in a university context.

Goals

The GADEMAVO template will allow professors to generate a serious game without programming skills. The final application will be multilingual. Special attention will be turned to usability and ergonomics.

The intention is not to focus on one specific game, but to implement a template application that will adapt the same game to different contexts: same game

  • different gameplay
  • different design
  • different scenari

Tablets such as iPad, laptops and computers will be able to access the online game template and deploy it (professors) or play with it (students). Providing students with such a serious game will help them to train their analytical skills related to their future professional context.
GADEMAVO will also produce practical resources (pedagogy, use cases and game use) about how to customize the game template and to generate games to be used by professors and assistants.
The template will be tested in 2 contexts:

  1. Health (physiotherapy)
  2. Business, Management and Services (communication, economics)
By the template supported decision making process steps will be:

  • Select suitable pieces of information, organize and priorize it
  • Manage its own exercises and contacts with other gamers
  • Create proper solutions and compare it with others

Benefit

Providing students with such a serious game will help them to train their analytical skills related to their future professional context. Using a serious game in blended learning context will provide effective articulation between knowledge training and knowledge integration. Besides, few courses are specifically focusing on the topic addressed by GADEMAVO though being able to implement an adequate problem solving approach constitutes a valuable tool to become a performing professional.
Cyberlearn will deploy the game in its institution through its own Moodle platform and host the game on Cyberlearn's own server architecture. Should another university show interest in deploying the game on their own platform and servers, Cyberlearn would deliver it to them (for free).
If a UAS doesn't intend to host the game, Cyberlearn would do it for them, under specific financial conditions.

Architecture

The development of the game template will follow a standard Client-Server model. It will be deployed into a central system. Multiple users can access the template at the same time for different purposes (create a new game or simply play).

Server-side
All user data and files will be stored on the server. User profiles could be shared with Moodle's native database, while all other user data (game progress, achievement, etc.) will be managed in a separate database. When creating a new game, users upload all necessary resources (image, video, documents, etc.) on the server, the access right for each file will be finely defined.
A majority of the business logic (game rules) will be executed on server side. An appropriate technology (PHP, Java Servlet, etc.) will be selected - main critera are compatibility with Moodle and the interobability with the client-side technology.

Client-side
HTML5 and AJAX (Javascript) offer a great set of possibilities to create rich and interactive interfaces. AJAX also includes a powerful toolbox to easily exchange the messages with the server. The template should be compatible with all up-to-date devices (PC, iOS, Android, etc.) and not dependant to any protected technology. Completely free and supported by all the modern browsers including those used in mobile platforms, the use of HTML5 seems to be the only consistent solution to address these issues. An analysis of available frameworks will be done, by considering the specific needs of the project. The use of different ones in the final product is not excluded, since the user may be using it both on desktop and mobile environment.

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