Scientific literature on serious gaming often refers to the serious game oxymoron. An oxymoron is a stylistic term derived from Greek in which two words that contradict each other in their literal meaning are combined, in this case oxus (sharp) and mōros (blunt). Abbot (1970) was the first to characterise serious gaming as an oxymoron, because of an apparent tension in pursuing serious goals through an inherently non-serious medium. The Professorship Serious Gaming is dedicated and equipped to ensure this special approach to research and design has a meaningful, enduring place in our society. We take serious gaming very seriously.
Integrating research, education, and valorisation
Our ambition is shaped by viewing the three primary result areas of our university – education, research, and valorisation – not as separate entities, but in conjunction with each other: The Serious Gaming Triangle. Education is provided by the Master Serious Gaming program, the Professorship Serious Gaming owns the serious gaming research, and valorisation is vested in the Serious Gaming Lab. When it comes to education or research with serious gaming, other educational programs, or professorships within our university, as well as external partners, can also act as initiators and owners of these activities. It happens often that the Serious Gaming Triangle contributes to the achievement of external objectives.
Lemniscate of serious gaming
The lemniscate of serious gaming represents eight consecutive as well as iterative stages in the life cycle of a serious game, each with its own research perspective. The first two stages are ‘reflection’ on the real-life experiences and ‘correlation’ of insights from reality to the model of reality. This is followed by ‘translation’ of the model of reality into the serious game design and ‘implementation’ of a game intervention. The next two stages are ‘reflection’ on game run experiences and ‘correlation’ of insights from the game run with the starting model of reality. The life cycle ends with ‘translation’ of the changed model of reality into real-life actions and ‘implementation’ of these actions.
Serious gaming research
Research with serious gaming (research through design) positions serious gaming as a research instrument, with two possible applications. For an issue where there is a high degree of clarity on the nature and direction of the objective, a serious game (as a product) can be used as a research instrument. The focus then lies on working towards an already defined solution. For an issue that seems ambiguous or needs further exploration we can use serious gaming (as a process), whereby the focus lies on exploring the issue itself.
In both research with serious gaming as well as in education with serious gaming, the Professorship Serious Gaming prioritizes the following themes:
Due to the increasing need for care and skilled care personnel there are growing challenges within healthcare at the societal, organizational, and individual level. Games for Health can influence health outcomes, either by promoting health behaviours or by assisting in the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of various physiological or psychological conditions. Their societal impact comes from the ability of health care providers and care recipients to acquire and reinforce specific knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to improve one's health and fitness. In our serious gaming research, using Games for Health as research instruments, we partner with a wide range of health-focused organizations and institutions, as well as education and research programs. Because people's lives and their (mental) health are not a game, a sophisticated approach to serious gaming is needed, based on mutual understanding and innovative capacity.
- Corona Kombat
The goal of ensuring the Netherlands is fully circular by 2050 is so ambitious that innovative strategies to balance ecological, economic, and social sustainability are increasingly important. Games for Sustainability can provide a broad set of stakeholders with a safe and tacit experience around the specific issues of sustainability, thus helping them to create socially constructed meaning and stimulate their collective action. Their societal impact comes from making stakeholders aware of the challenges associated with sustainability and providing them with insights and knowledge they need to act and develop solutions that are ecologically and socioeconomically balanced. In our serious gaming research, using Games for Sustainability as research instruments, we partner with a wide range of civil society, government and business organizations and interest groups, as well as education and research programs. Serious gaming approach can hold up a mirror and provide a necessary focus on the human factor in achieving sustainability and thus contribute to achieving a sustainable society, necessary for our common future.
- Circular Skills
- Instrumentarium watertransitie
- Expeditie Agrarische Bedrijfsovername
- Bereikbaarheid Ameland
With the increasing complexity of our physical, digital, and social infrastructures, the challenges of anticipating and responding to safety and security incidents are also becoming more complex. Games for Safety and Security can immerse people in critical (real-life or abstract) situations from within their own context, with the aim of increasing their awareness of safety and security issues, encouraging mental agility and anticipation, and building their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Their societal impact comes from one's increased situational and environmental awareness, the ability to stay focused on routine, alertness to abnormal signals, appropriate and timely action under stress, and effective communication when it really matters. In our serious gaming research, using Games for Safety and Security as research instruments, we partner with a wide range of community, government, and business organizations, as well as education and research programs, whose primary focus is on safety and security issues. Whether it is escape rooms, board games or virtual worlds, serious gaming offers new perspectives on current issues.
- Brandweer Minecraft game
- Training operators Soter RS bodyscanner voor opsporen contrabande
- Play it Safe
Whether the need is for social, organizational, or our own personal change, it is often not easy to get started and benefit from the change. Games for Change can increase players' understanding of the importance of change, help them acquire capabilities needed for change, and most importantly, motivate them to act on the need for change. Their societal impact comes from exploring and addressing authentic social and organizational issues (including the role of individuals) in a way that results in behaviour change and the development of strategies to successfully implement the desired change. In our serious gaming research, using Games for Change as research instruments, we partner with a wide range of community, government and business organizations and advocacy groups, as well as education and research programs. Through these partnerships, our serious gaming approach brings together fundamental aspects of psychology, sociology, and technology to engage people in social, organizational, or personal change.
- De Meester de Baas
The performance of an organization, a team, or an individual, regardless of how that performance is defined, depends primarily on our ability to continuously learn and apply that learning within ever-changing circumstances. Games for Performance can provide context-specific learning environments that put us in the state of failed or met expectations and open us up to learning through our natural desire to correct our thinking when things don't turn out as we expect. Their societal impact comes from applying in reality what has been learned in a simulated reality, as a result of experiencing the benefits of new knowledge and skills and gaining confidence in one's ability to perform successfully in the future. In our serious gaming research, using Games for Performance as research instruments, we partner with a wide range of community, government and business organizations and interest groups, as well as education and research programs. Discovering the things that work and don't work in a safe environment of serious gaming can mean the difference between success and failure in the real world.
- Country management
- Customer service
Didactics is the discipline of science that deals with how to teach knowledge, skills, and attitudes or behaviours. Games for Didactics can offer promising learning technology and environments, with some unique features not found in other educational tools. Their societal impact comes from their contribution to improving didactic methods and thus increasing the effects of learning itself. In our serious gaming research, using Games for Didactics as research instruments, we partner with a wide range of educational innovation-oriented organizations and institutions, as well as education and research programs. Being based in the university of applied sciences, this topic cannot be absent from the research agenda.
- Big picture
- Change Journey
Serious Gaming Lab (SeGa Lab)
The SeGa Lab is the workplace of the Professorship Serious Gaming and the Master Serious Gaming program. The primary aim of the SeGa Lab is to enable valorisation, a process of knowledge-based value creation, by making this knowledge available and applicable for societal and possibly economic use. This is achieved by supporting the setting up of partnerships, where there is a reciprocal relationship between researchers, lecturers, and external partners. Valorisation provides opportunities for initiation and funding of research, and it is increasingly becoming an integral part of the requirements for competitive funding in research, both at the national and European level.
An important activity within the valorisation role of the SeGa Lab is to encourage and enable educators to integrate serious gaming into their curricula, thereby promoting didactical innovation in line with the Design Based Education principles of NHL Stenden. The SeGa Lab already has a portfolio of serious games that can be integrated into different curricula (including the Master Serious Gaming program) and is responsible for the management, actualization, dissemination, and transfer of this portfolio.
Professorship Serious Gaming and Master Serious Gaming program
The deliberate integration of research, education, and valorisation within the serious gaming triangle at NHL Stenden, ensures 'by design' a very direct relationship between research and master education. An essential criterion for our engagement in any research project is that it must be relevant for the learning journey of our master's students. In that way we can ensure that acquired knowledge flows back into education and that students themselves are an integral part of design research projects. Conversely, the issues from the (professional) context of our master's students can be incorporated into the curriculum of the Master Serious Gaming program or lead to long-term partnerships, including joint grant applications. In the case of specific developmental questions from master's students, the Professorship Serious Gaming can propose suitable design-research issues as carriers for adaptive and meaningful education.
Do you have a question about one of our projects or want to know what possibilities there are to work together? Then get in touch!
Future Design Center, Academie ICT & Creative Technologies
Serious Gaming groep
8917 DD Leeuwarden
Contact via: Business Relations Future Design Center