2 Porto University, Faculty of Engineering (PORTUGAL)
3 Polytechnic Institute of Porto, College of Engineering (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 3602-3610
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Serious games are starting to attain a higher role as learning tools in contexts such as education and training. In this paper we provide a set of guidelines for game designers to build specific games for the certification of competences, and an in-game assessment in location-based cultural heritage applications. Serious games provide a favorable learning environment where mistakes can occur without real life penalty and students get instant feedback from challenges.The rules, behavior simulation, and feedback from the player's actions of the studied games, provide a realistic context for learning where failure can be a positive contribution to achieve success in the proposed challenges. These challenges are designed in accordance with the intended learning objectives and will self-adapt and repeat according to the student difficulty level while providing instant feedback.

There is decisively an acquisition of knowledge and experience through:
(1) motivating and engaging environments,
(2) approaches to problem solving and simulation of different situations, and also,
(3) from contexts where players can develop professional skills. However, how do we certify acquired knowledge and competencies?

Until now, the research has been focused on the evaluation of the game itself rather than on the learners’ assessment.The analysis of the player is usually performed at the end of the game using traditional questionnaire forms. Instead of that, using our Correlation Matrix methodology [ref], we propose in this paper, a set of guidelines for the game designers to develop a game for certification that can be assessed to that in-game mechanics and challenges are provide to provide a learning path to obtain the intended competences.

These guidelines are established on a triadic of components: Competencies / Mechanics / Play, following the approach of Casper Harteveld (Play / Meaning / Reality) [ref]. This is needed for balancing the relationship between the game mechanics based in serious games genres, the array of competences to certify, and the game elements.

This paper will present a matrix of generic skills, based on the Education Competences [ref] which serves as a reference to identify which competencies must be used to obtain the performance success of each situation. Based on the combination of identified competencies we define the game genres for training and certification are defined. This choice allows the identification of the most appropriate and necessary mechanics and challenges by comparison with a correlation matrix between competencies and game genre analysis with 120 serious games. Currently this methodology is being applied in the context of tourism guide’s applications with the key objective of identifying ability patterns correlated in acquiring different skills (multiplex). In the tourism guide’s context these skills could be planning and organizing the city exploration through challenges and targets to achieve and successful heritage knowledge assessment by quizzes or photos taken. As a result, existing game mechanics are identified and new ones are created and implemented in a Location-Based Gaming (LBG) platform to support more learning and to better interact with the heritage sites. As a case-study the guidelines will be applied to a tourism Porto heritage mobile route application to provide an improved design so that it may also be capable of in-game certification of tourism guides.
Serious Games, Certification, Game Design, Education.