Chapter 13 - Assesment in Videogames and Educational Apps Based Learning in Tertiary Education
Videogames in higher education are not yet explored and leveraged to the extent that they are used in primary and secondary education. One of the reasons is high costs of custom educational training development, including time and budget, the other is related to the complex competencies of a graduate that are difficult to define and assess.
This chapter focuses on how educational and leisure videogames could be leveraged to develop the graduate capabilities and be as well used as assessment tools for student performance and abilities. Students in higher education setting should develop cognitive attributes such as problem solving, critical analysis, communication skill to the extent where they are competent and flexible operating in the current and future context that is not yet defined. Videogames similarly to higher education context contain complex and situational scenarios that require players to develop multiple interconnected abilities to strategize and adapt to ever-changing difficulty of the story. In this sense videogames become a media that could be used as a learning environment able to simulate high complexity and intensity situations necessary to develop and apply broad capabilities expected from the graduate. Moreover the digital environment allows teachers to observe learner behaviour through the learning process, track decisions and provide quality feedback in game as well as additional coaching along the way to foster the improvement.
Innovation in technologies and services become the main focus for many companies. Work environment requires employees to constantly adjust to changing requirements, tasks and the market needs. Student’s looking for their first job more often understand that they need skills, that no one ever taught them in university, however, that is the current reality, that most of new emerging jobs have requirements for skills that are not being taught at any of disciplines in higher education.
Even though the work environment is changing higher education institutions stay traditional in the way studies are organised and what competencies are developed. The learning process is till highly oriented to the theoretical subjects leaving students without experience of real life complexity and examples. However, discussions among academics are starting to emerge analysing what are the needs in the job market and how universities should adjust their learning programs to prepare graduates for the future context.
For higher education to become more relevant and engaging technologies should be applied for learning and students assessment. Computer games have a valuable feature to create complex real life simulations for multiple skills development, making it possible to introduce students to real life situation and problems without risking their health, monetary costs or access to field experimentation. However technologies adoption in higher education is very slow as educators are still sceptical and resistant to change. Fresh and less experience teachers are willing to try new things and introduce technologies and games to students as a learning tools, in the meantime more experienced teachers are keeping to traditional methods that they are competent using and not willing to risk trying new technologies. As longs as teachers, key learning facilitators, will not be onboard with innovative learning approach, no change initiatives will stick. Thus teacher upskill programs, education and collaborative teams with interdisciplinary specialist should be initiated to redesign the learning process for higher education setting.
Higher education competencies are more generic and broad compared to other educational levels and are hard to evaluate directly. Most of them are developed as a byproduct of subject related tasks. The key goal of higher education ir to create environment where students could practice their skills in a complex environment that allow the graduate competencies to be applied.
Computer games that suit the higher education competencies development could be grouped to subject specific games and generic cognitive development games. Subject specific games create complex problem solving environment for learning the subjects like engineering or life sciences. In the meantime generic cognitive development games create situations for complex problem solving and cognitive flexibility application within non-subject related environment. Both game types require generic graduate competencies to be applied to succeed.