Present or Play: Some First Evidence on the Effect on Behaviour of Serious Gaming

Tom van Dijk, Ton Spil, Sanne van der Burg, Ivo Wenzler, Simon Dalmolen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Serious gaming is one of the newest developments in the world of learning and is recently gaining increasing attention and interest in the business environment. Many people claim that serious gaming has more influence on the behaviour of trainees than a normal presentation, but very little evidence is available in literature. Therefore in this paper the following research question will be answered: “Is people’s demonstrated behaviour after playing a serious game, which is highlighting the need for a specific set of behaviours, different from their demonstrated behaviour after attending a presentation with the same content, and why?” To answer this research question, an experiment lasting four months was conducted within a consulting company. A presentation was given twice and a serious game was played twice, both addressing the same content. In total 82 participants played a serious game and 72 participants attended a presentation. Consequently, participants’ behaviour was measured in a business simulation environment. This experiment shows that a serious game is more effective than a presentation when it comes to making people demonstrate a specific set of behaviours. Experiencing failure is an important element of learning in a serious game and most learning occurs during a debriefing when participants reflect on their in-game experiences. The importance of learning elements like goal setting, feedback and challenge is shown as well. Finally and not surprisingly, results indicate that a serious game is more engaging than a presentation. Although it is difficult to generalize about the effectiveness of serious games over presentations, as it also depends upon the learning elements included, this study is one of the first to show evidence on the effect on behaviour of serious gaming.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication8th European Conference on Games Based Learning
Subtitle of host publicationECGBL 2014, Berlin, Germany, 9-10 October 2014
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherCurran Associates Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-1-63439-538-0
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2014


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