Game-Aided Education for Transportation Engineering: Design, Development, and Assessment
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Transportation engineering is a wide area that covers different topics including traffic planning, highway design, pavement design, traffic safety, and traffic control. Certain concepts in those topics are challenging and are hard to understand based on textbooks and lectures. In this work, we developed five web games targeting the five topics in transportation engineering education to improve students’ understanding of those hard concepts. The games are hosted in a website server. Students can play these games online after register and login. The server stores the users’ information and their gameplay data. We conducted a Before-and-After study to test the effectiveness of the games in terms of improving the learning outcomes of the students. The results showed that the games could increase the students’ understanding of hard concepts significantly. The developed games can be used in transportation education. This game framework can serve as a reference for other education game developers. We envision that more educational games will be developed by transportation and education communities in the recent future. There will be more than one game for the same topic. We need an approach to select games for different students group. We proposed a gravity model for evaluating the engagement of the students for the educational games. We found that different games have different properties in terms of attracting students’ engagement. The proposed model can be used in the future for selecting educational games for specific students group.
General Audience Abstract
This thesis presents the effort of making computer games for education purpose. I developed five games corresponding to the five areas in transportation engineering courses. The objective of this work is to let the students understand the hard concepts in transportation engineering by playing the developed games. The students can play the games online, and their gameplay data will be recorded as they play. The effectiveness of this work was tested using before-and-after quizzes. We designed a set of quizzes that are within transportation engineering and can be solved using the knowledge learned in the games. We asked the students to do the quizzes and, without any feedback, do the same quizzes again after playing the games. The result showed that their scores improved in general, which means their understanding of transportation engineering was improved. Using the data collected from the gameplay, quizzes, and the students’ course scores, I proposed a gravity model that describes how students were engaged in the games. I found that different games could attract different students.
- Masters Theses