Erasmus University Rotterdam launches new MOOC on Serious Gaming

Training medical professionals for their work in the emergency room. Solving traffic problems by getting commuters to choose public transport or a bike over their cars. Or playfully motivating employees in a steel factory to increase the company’s productivity. These are just a few of the purposes for which serious games are used. In a new Massive Online Open Course (MOOC), media scholars of Erasmus University Rotterdam teach you what serious games are and how they work. Also, they take you on a tour along some of the most cutting-edge serious games that are developed by several Rotterdam-based game companies.

Why do people like to play? Why do some serious games work – while others don’t? And how come we sometimes just can’t stop playing a game – even though that one level seems impossible to pass?

Theory and practice of serious games

In the MOOC ‘Serious Gaming’, you will learn to define serious games, to analyze how they entertain and educate us and to measure their impact. In six modules, which you can follow at your own pace, theory and practice always go hand in hand. Each module starts with an introductory lecture by distinguished media scholars Jeroen Jansz and Mijke Slot. Next, they and their fellow researchers discuss topics such as game and play, simulation and persuasiveness, which are made understandable – and fun – through animations and videos. You can test your own knowledge by making the in-video quizzes and post-video training exercises.

In each module, you also see, and sometimes play, serious games addressing social issues like child labor or poverty. You may also experience simulations set in the Port of Rotterdam or the Erasmus Medical Centre. In these unique peeks behind the scenes you will discover how serious games are currently being used for diverse purposes – and if they have made an impact.

For whom?

Whether you are a student, a professional in the creative industries or working in the field of education and advertisement, this MOOC will provide you with essential information and cutting-edge examples. After this course, you will know what serious games are, what it means to design something persuasive and what the future might hold for serious gaming.


Sign up for the MOOC on Coursera. You can start at any moment you like and finish the course at your own pace. You will receive feedback on your assignments and you will be invited to discuss our views with other participants

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