Designing game scenarios for software project management education and assessment

Alejandro Calderón, Mercedes Ruiz, Rory V. O'Connor
  • IET Software, April 2019, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (the IET)
  • DOI: 10.1049/iet-sen.2018.5081

Designing Game Scenarios for Software Project Management Education and Assessment

What is it about?

In recent years, an increasing interest has been observed in the development and use of simulations, serious games and gamification strategies to teach software project management (SPM) in a highly practical way. The current serious games for SPM have a quite specific scope, are not able to provide and dynamically change game scenarios during the life of the serious game and do not allow trainers to assess students’ new skills automatically. These weaknesses led to the development of ProDec, a simulation-based serious game that is able to incorporate SPM real-life practice. In this paper, we discuss the use of serious games in SPM education before we describe ProDecAdmin, the game scenario design tool for ProDec. ProDecAdmin provides the teacher with an environment for designing the game scenarios for ProDec. Additionally, it helps the teacher establish the assessment criteria to automate the students’ assessment during the game plays. These functionalities allow ProDec to offer students any game scenario that teachers design and to assess their performance in them. Hence, the tool ProDecAdmin helps the serious game ProDec to overcome the lack of flexibility and automatic assessment identified in the current serious games for SPM. This paper also outlines the results of the usability evaluation conducted.

Why is it important?

Software Project Management (SPM) education for information technology students is an issue that has always attracted the attention of organizations such as IEEE-Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). In recent years, gamification, or the use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts, has emerged as a powerful new approach worthy of attention. In the educational context, gamification, and simulation-based SGs are approaches that can help to overcome some of the problems existing with SPM education, such as the loss of interest, motivation and engagement of students, and the lack of practical training. Their use may offer an alternative to the traditional pedagogical approaches that could ease the integration of technological resources into new, practical, social, fun and effective learning activities.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Rory V. O'Connor