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Table 2 Serious game facets and their educational affordances

From: A conceptual framework of game-informed principles for health professions education

Facet Educational affordances
Competition Motivates learner to improve their performance by challenging them to make iterative changes to their approach to a task or situation guided by feedback and other performance indicators [12, 41, 47]
Conflict Structured opportunities to learn how to deal with conflict—how to identify it, how to work when there is conflict (particularly when it disrupts collaboration between participants), and/or how to resolve conflict. Given the potential for stress, conflict involves higher cognitive load and is introduced only once a learner can handle a conflict-free situation [12, 42]
Chance/luck Either simulation of chance factors in real-world practice (such as whether a patient has a particular condition or will respond to a particular treatment) or as a way of adding unpredictability to game play and thereby adding to the complexity and/or difficulty of a game [12, 15]
Experience Increases immersion in the game (by making it more realistic or familiar), builds familiarity with particular kinds of situations, or augments the complexity and/or difficulty of a game [12, 47, 48]
Performance To facilitate skill development (physical and cognitive) with direct transfer to practice and to rehearse and refine skills in different and emerging situations [12, 38, 39, 46]
Simulation Depends on task related to simulators (things that simulate—media) and simulations (activities that simulate) [12, 34, 39, 49]
Make-believe Allows participants to explore roles and situations, to develop their professional identities, and to develop empathy by “walking in someone else’s shoes” (psychosocial moratorium). The use of make-believe should be credible and align with practice situations, which in healthcare professional education is typically articulated in the form of case narratives and role profiles [12, 14, 38, 50]
Tactics and strategies Should converge with those required in professional practice. Should not encourage “gaming” in the sense of misrepresenting performance by manipulating the underlying game boundaries at the sake of the intended learning outcomes [15, 51]
Media Media choice depends on the task and the intended learning outcomes; it should align or converge with real-world professional practice [15, 16]
Symbols and actions Should converge with professional practice, increasing isomorphism and reduced abstraction over time [1719, 43]
Complexity Should reflect scaffolding principles of increasing autonomy and convergence with real-world professional practice [38, 44, 45]
Difficulty Should reflect scaffolding principles of increasing autonomy and convergence with real-world professional practice [38, 44, 45]