Virtual designer: Digital role-playing game for knowledge transferal in design education

L. Thong, Craig D. Stewart, Sylvester Arnab, Petros Lameras

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Live role-play has been traditionally used as an educational technique to engage students and provide them the opportunity to learn with real-world context within classroom settings. This study aims to converge the pedagogical benefits of role-playing, educational technology and digital games to investigate the effectiveness of using 3d digital roleplaying games (RPGs) in classrooms to improve transferal of theoretical knowledge to practice in design education. Qualitative data were collected from digital media lecturers to identify desirable learning outcomes and describe teaching and learning challenges of digital media courses. Building upon Bloom's taxonomy, feedback from lecturers informed the development of a conceptual framework in the use of digital RPGs as learning tools to achieve learning outcomes for digital media education. A 3d RPG, Virtual Designer, was developed and tested on students from two campuses of a transnational university in Vietnam and Australia. Through Virtual Designer, undergraduate Digital Media students role-played as designer practitioners in a 3d simulated workplace, applying design knowledge into different hypothetical situations. A quasi-experiment was conducted, where students completed design knowledge tests before and after intervention to evaluate students' ability to transfer theoretical knowledge into practice from the use of Virtual Designer as part of their learning journey. Students also completed surveys and participated in focus group sessions to provide input on as well as perceived benefits or drawbacks on how the use of digital RPGs impacted their learning. This paper reports results and findings acquired from the quasi-experiment, in which digital media students completed pre/post-tests before and after playing Virtual Designer in class. Paired-samples t-test was conducted. Results indicated that there are students experience statistically significant performance gains in post-tests after using Virtual Designer as a digital learning tool to reinforce design theory knowledge.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the European Conference on Games-based Learning
    EditorsL. Boyle, T.M. Connolly
    Place of PublicationReading, UK
    PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
    ISBN (Print)978‐1‐911218‐09‐8
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
    Event10th European Conference on Games Based Learning - The University of the West of Scotland , Paisley, United Kingdom
    Duration: 6 Oct 20167 Oct 2016


    Conference10th European Conference on Games Based Learning
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

    Bibliographical note

    This paper is not available on the repository. The conference paper was given at the10th European Conference on Games Based Learning 6‐7 October 2016. Hosted by The University of the West of Scotland
    Paisley Scotland., The full conference Abstracts are available on the Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited website at: The abtract for this paper is on page 97


    • Digital media
    • Higher education
    • Role-play
    • Role-playing game
    • Serious games
    • Situated learning


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