To educate future decision makers, researchers developed a flood game to encourage players’ active learning by exploration.
The game design is based on ‘‘Shikakeology’’ and ‘‘game-initiated learning’’ methods. Through the design of the game, a change in behavior is initiated by allowing players to face real-world flooding problems and discuss problems related to flood disaster management. Following gameplay, the instructors introduce information useful in solving flood-related problems. From the feedback of review meetings, game-initiated learning was recognized as an educational method with great potential in teaching disaster management.
Five public activities have been held, including three high school camps and two exhibitions. Among the students who participated in the high school camps, 92 % of the students thought the game was helpful in teaching disaster prevention strategies. Ninety-six percentage of those that attended the exhibitions said they would like to play the game again, and 98 % of the participants indicated that they would pay more attention to the issues surrounding disaster prevention. This indicates that game-initiated learning is able to stimulate learning for the participants.
During the piloting process, in each activity, researchers offered twelve desktop computers and divided participating students into groups of three. The computer screen, mouse tracks, and also students’ voices and facial expressions were recorded during the game play. They also recorded the audio and video of the discussion and self-directed learning session. Two observers were assigned to each group to monitor the students’ behavior during the game. The observers wrote down all notable discussions, and emotional and motivational feedback. After these three activities, researchers sorted the collected data; our conclusions are summarized as follows:
- Before the game experience
- Women responded more positively to digital education.
- 72 % of the students had never participated in any courses on water resources and disaster prevention for typhoon and flood.
- 91 % of the students had never participated in typhoon and flood disaster prevention drills.
- 78 % of the students thought that the education on water resources and typhoon flood disaster prevention was inadequate. 2. After the game experience
- All students thought game playing was useful in learning.
- 92 % of the students thought the ‘‘defense’’ type of game could assist in the learning of disaster management planning.
- Over 43 % of the students would spend in excess of 1 h studying the eBooks of their own volition; they would spend more time trying or working with their partners by conducting creative learning and discussions.
- Three major aspects attracted students to self-study: intriguing material, useful disaster prevention knowledge, and comprehensive content.
This study adopted a Shikakeology approach to develop an interactive game, in support of two main objectives: to validate the efficiency of game-initiated learning for water related issues, and to meet the need for disaster education in Taiwan, which is a growing concern for the island. The content of the flood game and eBook had been reviewed by external advisers, who are experts in the field of water governance. In short, the game benefits flood disaster education, indicating a well-designed game that may promote behavior change in the target audience. It is beneficial to create game-based learning solutions that motivate the students through software design, utilizing a mode of learning that is joyful and does not feel like traditional learning.