Assessment 4 – Part A – Game-based learning rationale

Have a Great Day (Lehman, 2019) is an environmental sustainability single player branching scenario style game designed for vocational education and training (VET) students across various industries. The game narrative is that players need to make it through one whole day at work making environmentally sustainable choices. If they choose poorly, they start to lose points. Conversely, wise environmental choices inflate their score.

The learning goals of this game are to improve knowledge and skills to:

  • Increase awareness of own impact on the environment
  • Identify opportunities to reduce environmental impact
  • Increase ability to identify environmental and resource efficiency issues in the workplace and consider opportunities for improvements to work practices in own work area
  • Increase knowledge of recycling, energy consumption, resource usage and their effect on environmental sustainability

Most VET courses have at least one sustainability unit (DET, 2011, 2016a, 2016b, 2016c, 2018) thus this game has the scope to be accessible and useful across many industry areas. Once the player heads off to work, they hit a stop point and get to choose an industry workplace to ensure the game is relevant to their specific study area.

The onboarding, or more accurately, lack of any detailed onboarding, was inspired by a game called Gone Home (Fullbright Company, 2018) that was experienced during this unit. In Gone Home, all you hear is a phone message and the discovery of what is actually happening unfolds as you play the game. Observations of colleagues trialling Have a Great Day confirmed that this approach was successful and all players observed managed to work out how to turn off the annoying alarm clock. After one or two slides they all realised their choices were having an impact on their score and that they needed to make more environmentally sustainable choices to avoid losing points. During testing, no verbal or written instructions were provided to colleagues, just the link. All testers engaged with the game and claimed to enjoy the experience.

The subject matter, environmental sustainability, provided additional opportunities and influenced the game design and mechanics of Have a Great Day. My 14 year old son was actually quite shocked when on his second go, deliberately making poor choices to lose points and see what would happen, hit the “time is up” slide. As he turned to me wide-eyed and mouth agape, I could see him make the connection between his every day choices and the future of the planet.

Environmental sustainability in VET is very similar to workplace health and safety (WHS). The topic exists in most courses but there is no longer any scope for subject matter experts to deliver these units for the industry areas, thus industry specific teachers end up delivering sustainability and WHS units. This often leads to teachers delivering what they perceive as “dry” topics and providing lengthy PowerPoint slidedecks or large PDF documents. These teachers welcome any available engaging tools to support their delivery of this content. Just posting the front page in our organisational social network elicited responses from many teachers asking when they could access the game for their class.

Have a Great Day was developed using Articulate Storyline 360. This allowed the developer, who has extensive elearning content development experience but no game development expertise, to create the visual branching scenario desired while incorporating game elements such as scoring without needing to learn how to code. Mastering the concepts of variables, states and triggers was required to make the game function. Up to twenty different game engines and development tools were researched and trialled to work out how to create this game within the timeframe based on the skills of the developer and desired output.

This game was exported as HTML5 and loaded into a website. It is thus browser based and will work on any device, any browser and in any location with internet connection or phone service. This is essential for VET learners and ensures no apps are required for download and no account creation or student data is required which can be problematic for VET students.

Have a Great Day is a formative activity designed to be an engaging conversation starter, introducing the topic of environmental sustainability to specific industry areas in a fun and humorous way. Teachers and students can then engage in a robust discussion around environmental sustainability issues in their specific industry and what best practice looks like.

Becker (2011) highlights the importance of an educational game meeting learning outcomes. This game provides an engaging and gamified approach to teaching environmental sustainability in the VET environment that is currently lacking in my organisation. Have a Great Day incorporates engagement, problem solving and a gamification element in context which should ensure success (Kapp, 2012).

REFERENCES

Becker, K. (2011). Distinctions between games and learning: A review of current literature on games in education. In I. Management Association (Ed.), Gaming and Simulations: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications, 75-107. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi: 10.4018/978-1-60960-195-9.ch105.

Department of Education and Training. (2011) SISOOPS201A Minimise environmental impact. [unit guide]. Retrieved April 24, 2019 from https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/SISOOPS201A

Department of Education and Training. (2016a). AURAEA001 Identify environmental and sustainability requirements in an automotive service or repair workplace. [unit guide]. Retrieved April 24, 2019 from https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/AURAEA001

Department of Education and Training. (2016b). AURAEA002 Follow environmental and sustainability best practice in an automotive workplace. [unit guide]. Retrieved April 24, 2019 from https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/AURAEA002

Department of Education and Training. (2016c). BSBSUS201 Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices. [unit guide]. Retrieved April 24, 2019 from  https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/BSBSUS201

Department of Education and Training. (2018) MSS014009 Evaluate sustainability impact of a work or process area. [unit guide]. Retrieved April 24, 2019 from  https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/MSS014009

Fullbright Company. (2018). Gone Home [Game]. Retrieved 31 May 2019 from https://gonehome.game/

Kapp, K. (2012). The gamification of learning and instruction: game-based methods and strategies for training and education. John Wiley & Sons.

Lehman, S. (2019). Have a Great Day. [Game]. Hands on Nature website, Australia.  http://handsonnature.com.au/GBL/story_html5.html

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