Abstract Details

Playing Your Way To Change: The Development Of Serious Games For The Construction Industry

Serious Games and ‘game-based learning’ is increasing in popularity as a teaching method and is currently being utilised in many primary schools, universities and companies around the world. Serious Games aim to entertain users using non-traditional learning tools to achieve the primary goal of education and training. In recent years, there have been many studies and experiments carried out in order to test whether serious games make it possible to play and learn simultaneously. Models, frameworks and methodologies have been developed by researchers in order to explore the elements that contribute to an engaging and pedagogically sound Serious Game. However, there is a dearth of research into the effectiveness of Serious Games in education and training within the construction sector.

In 2012, the EU funded Build Up Skills Ireland (BUSI) project conducted a skills gap analysis of the construction sector in relation to the capacity of the workforce for delivering low energy buildings. One of the most significant conclusions of the report was an identified need for an introductory course on the principles of low energy buildings for all building construction workers. In line with the findings of the BUSI project in 2012, the FES programme focussed on a pedagogical approach that would best address the identified knowledge gaps and need for attitudinal change amongst construction workers.
The overarching aim of this study and the main research question is to explore whether upskilling training can be delivered successfully through the use of Serious Games, particularly in relation to effectiveness for training of construction skills and capacity for effecting attitudinal change. The potential of Serious Games for upskilling construction workers will be explored through comparison with more traditional methods such as training videos, toolbox sessions, classroom, etc. This will also consider the potential of Serious Games to appeal to the characteristics of the typical construction learner and how this might be best deployed to enhance the development of learning resources. The approach will specifically be applied to the upskilling of construction workers on low energy building principles, using Serious Games to simulate scenarios that occur on a live construction site and provide learners with an opportunity to virtually interact with issues they are likely to face.

An important element of this project will be the creation of a framework for the development of digital learning resources for the training of construction workers. This will potentially reduce development time for future upgrades to learning materials. Based on this framework, a 3D interactive Serious Game prototype will be developed. This prototype will be critically evaluated by participants of the QualiBuild Train the Trainers programme in an iterative design process.

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