There is a wide consensus in the scientific community about the educational potential of Serious Games. And serious games are being used in professional and corporate contexts to teach skills and new competences, which is particularly important in a lifelong learning perspective, to engage and train workforce, to discover and develop leaders, and to support sharing of knowledge and experience. Serious games are promising also in fields such as healthcare and personal development.
Serious games are very well suited to motivate learners and, by exploiting the latest simulation and visualization technologies, are able to contextualize the player’s experience in stimulating and realistic environments. Furthermore, a large and growing population is increasingly familiar with playing games, which makes them particularly suited as a powerful instructional tool.
However, so far, most authors agree that more extensive tests need to be performed in order to provide valid and reliable evidence for effectiveness of serious games as educational tools. Serious games should lead to improved learning in an efficient and attractive way. We believe that providing evidence of these benefits is key to promote serious games for education and training amongst the large public of families, teachers and stakeholders. This should lead to improving the market presence, that is still limited.
Furthermore, there is a growing need for scientific and engineering methods for building games as means that provide effective learning experiences. An effective application of SGs for education and training demands appropriate metrics, analytics, tools, and techniques for in-game user assessment, in order to allow meeting the educational goals, provide proper user feedback and support adaptivity. This can be achieved in particular by measuring elements such as learning outcomes and engagement, considering the twofold nature of SGs as compelling games that achieve some precise educational goals. We believe that this scientific approach is necessary in order to develop a new generation of SGs that are able to meet the above mentioned expectations and requirements for more effective education/instruction-supporting tools.
Meeting such requirements is the major driver that has inspired our approach in organizing the conference.