Work, Trade, Learn: Developing an Immersive Serious Game for History Education

D. Fernes, S. Oberdörfer, and M. Latoschik. 2023 9th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN) , (2023)to be published.


History education often struggles with a lack of interest from students. Serious games can help make learning about history more engaging. Students can directly experience situations of the past as well as interact and communicate with agents representing people of the respective era. This allows for situated learning. Besides using computer screens, the gameplay can also be experienced using immersive Virtual Reality (VR). VR adds an additional spatial level and can further increase the engagement as well as vividness. To investigate the benefits of using VR for serious games targeting the learning of history, we developed a serious game for desktop-3D and VR. Our serious game puts a player into the role of a medieval miller’s apprentice. Following a situated learning approach, the learner operates a mill and interacts with several other characters. These agents discuss relevant facts of the medieval life, thus enabling the construction of knowledge about the life in medieval towns. An evaluation showed that the game in general was successful in increasing the user’s knowledge about the covered topics as well as their topic interest in history. Whether the immersive VR or the simple desktop version of the application was used did not have any influence on these results. Additional feedback was gathered to improve the game further in the future.

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