Self-debriefing or teacher-debriefing on a game for learning IT communication skills?

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    Previous research has shown that games need debriefing to cater for learning, although the research is rather inconclusive towards characteristics of effective debriefing. Teacher-debriefing is relatively costly and due to time constraints reasonably limited for individual debriefs. Self-debriefing is cheap and can be done independently. This study examined with a pre-test post-test design whether self-debriefing can induce similar learning as teacher-debriefing. This study investigated students’ communication performance in four in-classroom usage-scenarios of a single-user game SMI (Space Modules Incorporated) for IT service-desk communication skills (n = 172). Three usage-scenarios used identical debriefing structure after the first game-session, but differed in debriefing format (Teacher-debriefing Learner-specific, Teacher-debriefing Class-specific, Self-debriefing Structured Note-taking). The fourth usage-scenario contained a generic assignment for self-reflection after the first game-session with note-taking (Self-debriefing Unstructured Note-taking). All usage-scenarios requested similar time investment for students in vocational education and the same debriefing-duration. Each usage-scenario contained the same two game-sessions with specific debriefing in-between. All usage-scenarios embedded easy to use debriefing formats, although both self-debriefing formats are cheaper to use than the teacher-debriefing formats. SMI supported in-game measurement of learning progress data, being used for debriefing and for measuring communication performance in both game-sessions (i.e., pre- & post-measurement). A mixed between-within subjects ANOVA showed a significant learning effect for all usage-scenarios, but no significant differences between the debriefing-formats. Less labour-intensive and more flexible exploitation of games via self-debriefing seem plausible as no differences between self-debriefing and teacher-debriefing were found. These findings align with previous research that also did not show any differences between self-debriefing and expert-debriefing. Self-reports revealed moderate motivation within all usage-scenario’s and moderate studyability of all usage-scenarios. This hints at opportunities for improving the usage-scenario’s (game and debriefing). Suggestions for further debriefing-research are given.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of 12th European Conference on Game-Based Learning
    EditorsMelanie Ciussi
    Place of PublicationSophia Antipolis, France
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Electronic)9781911218999
    Publication statusPublished - 2018
    Event12th European Conference on Game-Based Learning: ECGBL 2018 - Sophia Antipolis, France
    Duration: 4 Oct 20185 Oct 2018


    Conference12th European Conference on Game-Based Learning
    CitySophia Antipolis


    • Communication skills
    • debriefing
    • self-debriefing
    • serious games
    • teacher-debriefing
    • technology-enhanced assessment


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