Effectiveness of serious game designs for software developers

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Ζαρκαδούλα, Καλλιρρόη
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Games are generally considered to be motivating and engaging. Nowadays, people, especially the young, spend a lot of time playing different subgenres of games. Serious games, games that expand the traditional notion of gaming and have a different purpose other than pure entertainment, can be used in Computer Science education and propose a different type of learning and discussing relevant topics. Games are not only used in many ways in computer science education but also consist of a great part of students’ extracurricular activities. The main purpose of serious games sessions is to put their suitability to the test and discuss whether they can be considered as an efficient teaching method.  The challenge of digital serious games is to identify which of these are most effective in meeting educational outcomes, enriching computing education and fitting into existing teaching methods. In serious games, we can define points of interest like player’s role, functionality, level of engagement, connection to other players, etc. Using and tweaking these dimensions we can thereafter produce not only an educational outcome but also an approach towards Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) methods and techniques. This Master Thesis targets to analyze serious games for Computer Science education in two ways: 1) for their design elements and 2) for the evaluation of their effectiveness. While thinking of the design elements, one can decide upon them by analyzing the mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics of the game. All of them are essential and valuable parts of game design and comprise interconnected and interrelated concepts. Also, the main aim of the study is to focus on the design, development, and evaluation of different subgenres of games. The initial approach is to design, develop and evaluate  games that will consist of different interfaces, but both are designed and developed for software developers and target accordingly fundamental programming concepts. Participants of the experiments will be users with an elementary knowledge of programming that will be invited to play one of the subgenres of the game with randomly assigned interfaces and activities. The effectiveness of each game genre will be evaluated concerning the interface by using experimental methods and conducting interviews with the participants asking their opinions regarding the comprehensibility of each game genre. All collected data will be used for revisions and improvements if needed, and the results of the evaluation will be used to summarize and conclude to what extent the defined goals are achieved.
Serious games, Human-computer interaction, Programming, Game-based learning