Serious Games Institute

The University of Coventry in the UK opened the Serious Games Institute in fall 2007.

The Institute acts as a hub for 'serious games' (defined as digital computer games with an educational purpose) research and development and notes that:

The current main areas of application of serious games (and virtual worlds) are in the business and military sectors but there is also much interest in their use in the education sector.

A report published in co-operation with the Serious Games Institute in November 2008 Serious Virtual Worlds: A Scoping Study makes the point that

Immersive world applications achieve this mainly because they have the potential to support multimodal (using different senses) communications between learners; they set up the potential for problem – or challenge-based learning and offer the learner control through exploratory learning experiences.

While the spaces are excellent for bringing together the use of a range of different media (eg streamed video and audio, email, live chat, social network software and mind mapping software), questions remain as to how best to integrate these media to support the most enriched learning experiences, so more work is needed to identify the key strengths of learning in immersive worlds and guidelines are required to support practitioners and learners.

Additionally, Cisco is collaborating in a research project with the Serious Games Institute to explore the potential of smart buildings and campuses to support innovative and personalised learning. At the heart of this collaboration is the concept of a "smart building" as an intelligent agent that can learn about its visitors and stakeholders and respond proactively to deliver a rich experience based on knowledge of an individual's profile and location. They say that:

Over time, we envisage that the system will develop a profile of the visitor which not only delivers content most appropriate to the visitor's knowledge and preferences but also acts in a proactive way to connect the visitor to other people with similar interests or specialised knowledge.

These types of developments are likely to have huge impacts on the way organizations interact with stakeholders to deliver their products and services. It will be stretch for most of the traditional business models to adapt quickly enough to remain competitive.