Finding Appropriate Serious Games in Vocational Education and Training: A Conceptual Approach
Keywords:Vocational education and training, serious games, educational games, Serious Games Information Center, Serious Games Metadata Format, classification of occupations
Stakeholders in vocational training are required to provide appropriate learning opportunities that can be used to develop the needed skills induced by technological change and thereto affected changes in the type of jobs, skill needs, activities, and other economic effects. In light of this, serious games have enormous potential, as they can simulate complex real-life situations without disrupting operations, but in a playful and motivating way, and with adaption to the individual needs of the users. This paper explores the question, how to find appropriate serious games matching the needs for a specific job and skill level. Within the research project “Serious Games for Vocational Education and Training” funded by the German Ministry for Science and Education, the Serious Games-Information Center (SG-IC, a classical web-based information system in form of a portal) and its underlying Serious Games Metadata Format (SG-MDF), as semantic basis for the description and retrieval of serious games, is enhanced according to the characteristics and needs in the field of vocational education and training (VET). Educational stakeholders can use the search engine to identify personalized game-based learning opportunities for their individual target groups. The identification of appropriate educational games is based on classifications of occupations, and skill levels on the learning side, and metadata information for the games on the gaming side (i.e. target user group, game genre, learning topics and additional keywords). The paper motivates the use of metadata and classification systems and presents the results of a literature search and overview of established classification systems of occupations, with a focus on Germany, but with correspondence to international systems. Based on that analytic work, an application profile ‘vocational education and training’ as an added ‘variant’ of the SG-MDF has been elaborated and integrated within the SG-IC as search engine for educational games for vocational training. Hereto serious games are matched with a database of occupational fields as defined by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, and main activity as defined by the microcensus, the largest annual household survey of official statistics in Germany.