A Generic Data Collection Framework for the Debriefing of Serious Games (AVAILABLE)

Type of Thesis: 
Master Thesis

Serious games are games that are specifically designed to teach people about a specific subject or assist them in learning a skill as they play. Debriefing is considered an important activity when applying serious games as a teaching instrument. Debriefing is described as “the occasion and activity for the reflection on and the sharing of the game experience to turn it into learning” [Crookall 2010, p907]. It is argued that debriefing is needed to enable the learner using the new knowledge in other settings than the one in which it was acquired, i.e. in real life [Nicholson 2012]. However most digital serious games do not include a debriefing phase. The research work in this context focuses on models and methods for classical debriefing sessions where learners sit together with a facilitator to reflect to their activities (e.g., [Nicholson 2012][Fanning & Gaba 2007]). However, these classical debriefing sessions are expensive and time consuming due to the high cost of bringing in expert facilitators. With the increased popularity of digital serious games, there is an increased interest in replace these classical debriefing sessions by a software approach that allows for an automatic debriefing. However, achieving this in the context of serious games that are based on an Artificial Intelligence (AI) approach is not obvious because the actual AI used behind the scene to explain the results obtained in the game may not be understandable by the players. A first step towards a solution is collecting data while the player is playing the game. Therefore, the goal of this thesis work is to develop a data collection framework that can be used for different serious games. Relevant system and user actions in combination with system states (to know the context in which the actions took place) should be logged.  In addition, an easy to use approach to integrate the mechanism into existing systems (games) should be investigated. For this purpose, different software engineering approaches that allow the easy integration of crosscutting concerns (e.g. aspect-orientation or composition) could be considered.

For more information contact Prof. Dr. Olga De Troyer



Crookall, D. (2010). Serious games, debriefing, and simulation/gaming as a discipline. Simulation & Gaming, 41(6), 898-920.

Nicholson, S. (2012). Completing the experience: Debriefing in experiential educational games. In the Proc. of The 3rd Int. Conf. on Society and Information Technologies. Winter Garden: International Institute of Informatics and Systemics (pp. 117-121).

Fanning, R. M., & Gaba, D. M. (2007). The role of debriefing in simulation-based learning. Simulation in healthcare, 2(2), 115-125.

Background Knowledge: 

Good programming skills

Good knowledge of databases

Knowlegde of game development is an advantage

Technical challenges: 

Finding an approach to integrate a logging mechanism in existing (serious) games

Finding the right level of logging information; logging too much may low down the game


Academic Year: