Beating anxiety and boredom: serious game design lessons

Serious games can be highly frustrating or extremely boring. They are then not the effective educational tools that they were supposed to be. Serious games are designed to contribute to achieving a specific purpose other than mere entertainment. As such, they may be helpful to better understand complex management issues or engineering topics. However, those purposes may actually never be achieved when a game is designed poorly. I have experienced exactly that with a serious game that I have designed for construction supply chain management. Here’s how a theoretical model from the 1970s helped me to promote the learning potential of that game. Read more

Gaming in construction education: play-testing the ‘Tower of Infinity’

Games can be useful tools for teaching aspects of construction management that are not easily transferred through traditional lecture-based approaches. Stories of the successful application of certain construction management tools or methods are, due to their retrospective value, of limited value for building up an understanding about how to solve a practical problem one faces. Similarly, simple educational assignments do not reflect construction practice well since they often neglect aspects like uncertainty, urgency, ambiguity and complexity. Games, however, balance elements of conflict, a motivation to win and a scoring metric to create an imaginary experience that players can relate to and understand. They can therefore be a useful tool for construction education. Read more