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Value of a Ludic Simulation in Training First Responders to Manage Blast Incidents

Robert M. Waddington, Thomas C. Reeves, Ellen J. Kalin, William D. Aggen, Marjorie A. Moreau, Harald Scheirich, Jerry Heneghan and Steven Cattrell
Additional contact information
Robert M. Waddington: SimQuest Inc., Annapolis, MD, USA
Thomas C. Reeves: The University of Georgia, USA
Ellen J. Kalin: SimQuest Inc., Annapolis, MD, USA
William D. Aggen: Prison Fellowship, Lansdowne, VA, USA
Marjorie A. Moreau: SimQuest Inc., Annapolis, MD, USA
Harald Scheirich: SimQuest Inc., Annapolis, MD, USA
Jerry Heneghan: Virtual Heroes Division, Applied Research Associates, Inc., Raleigh, NC, USA
Steven Cattrell: Virtual Heroes Division, Applied Research Associates, Inc., Raleigh, NC, USA

International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS), 2013, vol. 5, issue 2, 60-72

Abstract: The ludic, or gamelike, potential of simulations used in training is explored in this project, in which a prototype game was developed that had the mandate to train first responders to manage explosive blast incidents using an entertaining and engaging learning experience. One hypothesis and one question were postulated. The hypothesis was that the ludic component would make the game engaging, and therefore enhance learning, and the question was, “how will this type of game work within a curriculum instead of as traditional standalone training?†To test the hypothesis, surrogate end-users (N=42) participated in a formative evaluation study of the prototype, in which their feedback was solicited about all aspects of the game, including ease of use, coverage of subject matter, perceived usefulness, accuracy, realism, and immersion (i.e., extent to which they were engaged). To answer the question, the study team observed the students and instructors during the formative evaluation and collected impressions and feedback about the learning dynamic during testing. Results of the study supported the hypothesis, and led to some important realizations about the educational contexts that may work best for this type of training, i.e., that this type of game works well as a lab component of a course. After the game was modified based on the evaluation results, the game was used in live training, and subsequently reported to meet the needs of end users while achieving an appropriate blend of instructional and game design.

Date: 2013
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