Acceptance of Serious Games to Develop Digital Competencies in Higher Education
Sandí Delgado, Juan Carlos
Sanz, Cecilia Verónica
Lovos, Edith Noemi
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Serious games are the focus of the current research agenda. They show promise for allowing students to learn and practice skills. In fewer studies, they are used for the development of academic competencies. Therefore, it is of interest to deepen the research on the benefits of serious games in academic education and training. This article presents a study using serious games aimed at higher education academics’ training for the development of digital competencies. The study was carried out with 56 academics, using the serious game called AstroCódigo. The study analyzed the level of acceptance of serious games using the TAM model and what factors the academics believe affect this acceptance. It is important to know possible barriers that affect the development of actions oriented to the formation of academic competencies through serious games, which can also affect the adoption of games as a resource for teaching situations. None of prior studies have focused on analyzing the technological acceptance of serious games used for the development of academic competencies. The results of this research indicate that participants believe that using serious games can be beneficial to drive digital competencies. However, there are aspects such as the highest academic qualification, work experience, professional development, perceived usefulness, ease of use, and fear of change associated with age rank which can play a negative role in the use and acceptance of digital technologies by academics, particularly serious games. These results may be a clue to the barriers linked to the fact that most of the participants in this study do not use serious games in their classes or for their digital skills training. Additionally, the possibility to try and fail and the increased level of challenges proposed in the serious games, related to enjoyment, were valued by academics, during the sessions with AstroCódigo. These findings open the door to organize strategies for academic training in digital competencies within higher education institutions. They can also impact the design decisions of new serious games.