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Volume 25 / Issue 7

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Effectiveness of Games in Software Project Management Education: An Experimental Study

Giani Petri (Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil)

Christiane Gresse von Wangenheim (Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil)

Jean Carlo Rossa Hauck (Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil)

Adriano Ferreti Borgatto (Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil)

Abstract: Software Project Management (SPM) is considered important to ensure that software projects are delivered with success, with respect to project scope, time, cost and quality requirements. However, teaching SPM remains a challenging issue. In this context, educational games have been used in order to provide more practical opportunities in SPM education. Yet, there is a lack of studies with more rigorous research design in order to analyse the real effectiveness of such games. The objective of this study is to analyse the effectiveness of educational games with respect to the students' experience and learning in SPM education. An experimental study is conducted in two SPM courses, involving an experimental group, adopting games; and a control group, using traditional exercises. The results indicate that games provide a positive contribution to the students' perceived learning, as well as provide an engaging experience, mainly in terms of challenge, social interaction, fun and focused attention. Yet, no indication that the games provide a better learning effect than exercises could be identified, although the results show an increase in the students' performance over time playing the games. Results of this study may assist instructors to select such games and contribute to their adoption for SPM education.

Keywords: educational game, effectiveness, experiment, software project management

Categories: D.2.9, L.5.1