Assessing Serious Games: The GRAND Assessment Framework

Domini Gee, Man-Wai Chu, Simeon Blimke, Geoffrey Rockwell, Sean Gouglas, David Holmes, Shannon Lucky


The videogame industry is a considerable market: in 2012, the industry was worth over $86 billion USD and about seventy-two percent of American households play videogames. It is unsurprising, then, that commercial and educational developers and/or researchers have sought to capitalise on videogames. Games and simulation technologies have been used for educational purposes for thousands of years prior to the digital era (Gee 2007). Digital games, however, offer many new affordances including increased accessibility, reinforced automation (i.e., fair and consistent application of rules), embedded data-gathering for assessment, dynamic adaptation to student needs, the ability to simulate complex situations for student inquiry in a safe context, and reduced overall costs (Jin and Low 2011). However, it is difficult to assess the process of serious game development and effectiveness of educational play. Many serious games retrofit assessment late into the project, creating a gap between original intents and the game's current uses, limiting effectiveness of measuring and meeting the project's goals. As such, we propose an assessment framework that synthesises work from various fields (educational assessment, game design, usability, project management) that aims to guide researchers and game developers through a project from its inception to the end by presenting specific topics to address and questions to answer throughout the game design phase of the project. By building assessment into the game development from the get-go, original intents and a game's current uses can more closely align, allowing for stronger, purposeful games.

L’industrie du jeu vidéo est un marché appréciable. En 2012, elle dépassait 86 milliards de dollars US et environ soixante-douze pour cent des ménages américains jouent aux jeux vidéo. Il n’est pas surprenant alors que des concepteurs et des chercheurs de la sphère commerciale et éducationnelle ont cherché à tirer profit des jeux vidéo. Bien avant l’avènement de l’ère numérique, jeux et technologie de simulation étaient utilisés à des fins pédagogiques (Gee 2007). Le jeu vidéo offre toutefois de nouvelles affordances : accessibilité accrue, automatisation renforcée (c.-à-d. l’application juste et systématique des règles), collecte de données intégrée pour l’évaluation, adaptation dynamique aux besoins des élèves, possibilité de simuler des situations complexes pour l’expérience de recherche de l’élève dans un contexte sécuritaire et, finalement, réduction des coûts globaux (Jin and Low 2011). Il est toutefois difficile d’évaluer le processus de conception de jeux sérieux et l’efficacité du jeu éducationnel. De nombreux jeux sérieux intègrent l’évaluation tard dans le projet, créant un écart entre les intentions originelles et les utilisations actuelles du jeu, limitant ainsi l’efficacité à mesurer et respecter les objectifs du projet. À ce titre, nous proposons un cadre d’évaluation synthétisant les travaux dans divers domaines (évaluation pédagogique, conception de jeu, facilité d’utilisation, gestion de projet) qui guiderait chercheurs et concepteurs de jeux dans un projet, de son lancement à sa fin, en présentant des sujets précis à traiter et des questions à répondre pendant la phase conception du jeu du projet. L’incorporation dès le départ de l’évaluation dans la conception du jeu permettrait un meilleur alignement des intentions premières et des utilisations actuelles du jeu, permettant ainsi une expérience de jeux plus forte et plus significative.


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