1 Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (SPAIN)
2 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
3 Instituto Geólogico y Minero de España-CSIC (SPAIN)
4 Universidad de Alcala de Henares (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2024 Proceedings
Publication year: 2024
Pages: 4675-4684
ISBN: 978-84-09-59215-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2024.1208
Conference name: 18th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-6 March, 2024
Location: Valencia, Spain
The topic of university students' resilience is drawing increasing attention in the education literature due to its association with health, well-being and employability, despite the lack of research on the matter (Brewer et al., 2019). Furthermore, universities confront the task of instructing technical abilities while concurrently nurturing soft skills (Tadjer and Lafifi, 2020). Universities are progressively required to operate as transformative agents in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Peña-Miguel et al., 2020). In this context, serious games (SG) are valuable tools for addressing several educational aspects, including active participation and competences enhancement.

The main objective of this study is to evaluate a game-based learning activity that helps university students in developing soft skills, mainly focusing on resilience. The game can also aid in the improvement of their professional skills within the framework of SDGs such as
4) quality education,
5) gender equality,
8) decent work and economic growth,
9) industry, innovation and infrastructure,
11) sustainable cities and communities and
12) responsible production and consumption.

To achieve such skills development and improvement, students participate in a serious game-based learning programme known as LabX Extreme Event (National Academy of Sciences, 2023). The game is provided in a web-based platform that dynamically exposes players to overcoming complex challenges through critical events. Its purpose is to nurture players' ability to develop resilience when facing adversity, enhance their skills in collaboration, decision-making, awareness and conflict management.

Conducted an experiment with two student groups studying the same subject: one played SG Extreme Event Game for skill and resilience enhancement, while the other had traditional training. To address shared group membership issues, we included students from different programs and levels, including some in Master's degrees. The youngest research team member served as a control inside the active group. Game participants debriefed post-event for integrated concept understanding. Data on skill and resilience perception were collected through pre- and post-experience questionnaires designed for clarity and skill coverage. Using a 5-Likert scale, we assessed potential perception differences before and after training and between groups. Preliminary results indicate that active learning through serious play boosts resilience and soft skills. Serious play promotes empathy, emphasizing collective well-being and resource conservation, fostering environmental awareness and ethical responsibility among participants.

The SG offers a unique opportunity to research and comprehend intricate concepts within an interactive and demanding setting. It enables learners to enhance their knowledge by putting acquired theories and principles to the test in real-life situations, while also promoting self-awareness and resilience. In addition to simulating decision-making processes and incorporating conflict resolution elements within the game, this enhances the development of skills in collaborative problem-solving and improves the ability to make informed decisions, resulting in better interpersonal skills.
Active methodologies, serious games, resilience, students, soft skills, real-life situations.