Classroom implementation of game-based module for geotechical engineering education

Victoria Bennett, Tarek Abdoun, Casper Harteveld, Flora P. McMartin, Usama El Shamy

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This paper highlights an ongoing effort to address the educational gaps in geotechnical engineering education through the development and implementation of a transferable and scalable Mixed Reality and Mobile (MR&M) Educational Game, "GeoExplorer." A game-based course module was implemented in existing geotechnical engineering courses at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The newly developed game has the potential to transform the way geotechnical engineering is taught by addressing the current critical gap of lack of exposure to field testing and practical experience. Ultimately, the use of MR&M games should result in a better-trained and globally minded workforce. The game will be available for free for educators and its implementation does not require additional resources. The game-based module is flexible and variations of the game can be scaled with little difficulty, depending on the targeted audience. The formative evaluation of the curriculum module was designed to ensure that the game addressed the module's learning outcomes and included appropriate metrics for measuring student learning. To achieve these assessment goals, pre-game and post-game implementation surveys were conducted. The classroom implementation included a lecture to teach Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) procedures and analysis using traditional methods and demonstration photos and videos. Then students were asked to take the pre-game survey, which included technical questions designed to evaluate their learning. This was followed by introducing the CPT portion of the GeoExplorer game to the class. After completing the game assignment, the students completed the post-game survey, which included the same technical questions, as well as additional questions designed to assess game quality and students perception of its effectiveness. Findings from these surveys will be discussed herein. One noteworthy finding was that over 90% of students agreed or strongly agreed that the game is an effective way to implement class learning into practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 24 2017
Event124th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Columbus, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2017Jun 28 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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