Game changers: learn how serious games work

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’, students will learn to define serious games, to analyze how they entertain and persuade us and to measure their impact. In six modules, which they can follow at their own pace, theory and practice always go hand in hand. Each module starts with an introductory lecture by 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. They can test their own knowledge by making the in-video quizzes and post-video training exercises.

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


More information

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

Sign in for the MOOC on Coursera. Students can start at any moment they like and finish the course at your own pace. They will receive feedback on their assignments by their peers and will be invited to discuss their views with other participants.

Other available MOOCs
Erasmus University Rotterdam is giving a boost to its offer on open online education. In the coming years, several Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are to be developed on the Coursera platform. Online courses that are already available are about Econometrics and Innovation Management.