Visualization, Serious Games and Decision Making
Keywords:Higher Education, Educational Innovation, Visualization, Serious Games, Logistics Education
One of the most important objectives of serious games is to detonate behavioral changes of participants. Serious games generate engagement, they are meaningful, entertaining, and immersive. However, when the game represents a complex system, it contains a great number of variables and the relationship between its decision components are not entirely clear. Consequently, it is necessary to offer a set of tools that increase the data visualization of the players and help in the decision-making process must be provided. In our university, logistics professors have designed a simulator for logistics decision making. On the one hand, the game has gained acceptance from the student community, but on the other hand, several students do not accomplish a satisfactory performance. Therefore, these students fail to notice lots of variable interrelationships in the game, and they do not develop the skill required to follow a good decision-making process. The goal is two folded. On the one hand, the improvement of the participant's comprehension of a complex logistical system must be reached. On the other hand, the clarity on the decision-making process has to be laid out. A set of visualization support tools were created to accomplish those objectives. Neither of the tools aim to influence the decision-making process nor to show decision alternatives to the participant, but to highlight a few key performance indicators, constraints, and data that the students can use when making the decisions. In this paper it is presented how the participants have improved their understanding about the logistic system represented in the game, when the support tools are used. Moreover, their motivation has increased, they are more involved and committed to learn. Overall, their decision-making strategies have been modified and they have shown a better comprehension of the game structure. This paper contributes to underline the importance of visualization in student's learning, considering that currently big data, industry 4.0, as well as internet of things have gained a significant relevance in our everyday life. The design of strategic games involving these new variables are necessary. The more complex a system, the greater the number of visualization tools to strengthen the comprehension of the system are required.