Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Software: serious games in virtual worlds

19.12.2007
Serious games are designed not to entertain, but to teach. Students learn by doing, and games range from simulating medical procedures to promoting peace in Palestine. Now European researchers are developing a platform to make the concept more accessible to businessmen. You cannot replace experience, but maybe you can acquire it faster.

Action learning, learning by doing, is the most effective form of training a company can deploy. Instead of remembering facts or processes, students perform real tasks, employing both the knowledge and the method as they do. It is the difference between reading the manual and building the machine. It is experience over information.

It is very, very effective. It is also costly and time-consuming so, up to now, it has been the preserve of the senior executives in large corporations.

But not for long, perhaps. PRIME is a European project that seeks to make action learning cheaper, more accessible, more flexible and powerful. PRIME researchers are developing a software platform that uses serious game techniques to let users see the impact of their decisions in a virtual environment.

“The aim is for the user to gain experience by experimenting in a risk-free environment,” explains Bjorn Andersen, project coordinator of PRIME.

The platform consists of two elements, a Virtual Business Environment (VBE) and PRIME-Time, a workplace integration module. The VBE is a serious game that consists of a “micro world” where a number of users can interact with the software and between themselves. The platform is an approximation of reality based on a simulation model that controls the macro-economic and micro-economic dimensions of the micro world.

“So a business might decide to launch a new product, or recall an old one, and that will affect many actors, from suppliers to retailers,” remarks Andersen. “It will also affect a number of factors, like transport, inventory and so on.”

The virtual business environment tracks the impact of these changes in real time, so users can see the effect of their actions.

Users gain experience that is transferable to the real world, in a similar manner to flight simulators used by pilots. Airline pilots, for example, train to handle situations they will almost never meet in real life. But if one does occur, they are ready to respond appropriately. “PRIME does the same thing for business,” reveals Andersen.

But VBE is not a decision-support tool per se. The aim is not to achieve realistic simulation, but to provide an alternate reality where experience is gained.

Ready for PRIME-Time?
The second element, PRIME-Time, is the really clever bit. It integrates the use of PRIME within current work environments, leading to new ways of working.

PRIME offers a scenario for their platforms. For instance, executive Bob is drinking his morning coffee when he gets a lead on a sales contract. He boots up the Virtual Business Environment using his PDA and simulates various offers and their effects on production, inventory, shipping and so on.

He then contacts the client and negotiates a contract informed by his experience with the VBE. They agree on terms, hang up, and Bob continues drinking his coffee. Here, PRIME has become part of the workflow, accelerating the acquisition of experience.

This is not the first serious game for businessmen, but it is unique because it can apply to any business. Even more important it can accommodate multiple players.

“It is not tailored to a specific business, because that gets into simulation, and that’s difficult and needs to be customised,” Andersen notes. “Instead, it is modelled on principles and how the business model works.”

The platform is complete and currently the game is in testing among six end-user partners, though students who pre-tested PRIME said it boosted their educational experience. Right now, the game is quite complex, and difficult to learn, and Andersen believes it would need more development to make it ready for the commercial market. “We didn’t realise how complex it would be and we used some development tools, like Java, that we wouldn’t perhaps use again. It was a tough problem, and still we didn’t do everything we would like to have done, such as more complex consumer modelling with demographics.”

“We get the end-user evaluations in January and, in the meantime, there are discussions with software companies and training companies about possibly commercialising the product, but how far that will go is difficult to tell,” Andersen reveals.

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/89381

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers
20.07.2018 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

nachricht Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
18.07.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Maturation Pattern of the Hippocampus Drives Human Memory Deve

23.07.2018 | Science Education

FAU researchers identify Parkinson's disease as a possible autoimmune disease

23.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

O2 stable hydrogenases for applications

23.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>