A case study on the design and development of mini-games for research methods and statistics

Peter Van Rosmalen*, Elizabeth A. Boyle, John Van der Baaren, Anne Kärki, Ángel Del Blanco Aguado

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    Research methodology involves logical reasoning and critical thinking skills which are core competences in developing a more sophisticated understanding of the world. Acquiring expertise in research methods and statistics is not easy and poses a significant challenge for many students. The subject material is challenging because it is highly abstract and complex and requires the coordination of different but inter-related knowledge and skills that are all necessary to develop a coherent and usable skills base in this area. Additionally, while many students embrace research methods enthusiastically, others find the area dry, abstract and boring. In this paper we discuss the design and the first evaluation of a set of mini-games to practice research methods. Games are considered to be engaging and allow students to test out scenarios which provide concrete examples in a way that they typically only do once they are out in the field. The design of a game is a complex task. First, we describe how we used cognitive task analysis to identify the knowledge and competences required to develop a comprehensive and usable understanding of research methods. Next, we describe the games designed and how 4C-ID, an instructional design model, was used to underpin the games with a sound instructional design basis. Finally, the evaluation approach is discussed and how the findings of the first evaluation phase were used to improve the games.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalEAI Endorsed Transactions on Serious Games
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2014


    • Research methods and statistics
    • Serious Games
    • Game Design
    • Cognitive Task Analysis
    • Instructional Design
    • 4C-ID


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