Exploring spiral narratives with immediate feedback in immersive virtual reality serious games for earthquake emergency training

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Various attempts and approaches have been made to teach individuals about the knowledge of best practice for earthquake emergencies. Among them, Immersive Virtual Reality Serious Games (IVR SGs) have been suggested as an effective tool for emergency training. The notion of IVR SGs is consistent with the concept of problem-based gaming (PBG), where trainees interact with games in a loop of forming a playing strategy, applying the strategy, observing consequences, and making reflection. PBG triggers reflection-on-action, enabling trainees to reform perceptions and establish knowledge after making a response to a scenario. However, in the literature of PBG, little effort has been made for trainees to reflect while they are making a response (i.e., reflection-in-action) in a scenario. In addition, trainees do not have the possibility to adjust their responses and reshape their behaviors according to their reflection-in-action. In order to overcome these limitations, this study proposes a game mechanism, which integrates spiral narratives with immediate feedback, to underpin reflection-in-action and reflective redo in PBG. An IVR SG training system suited to earthquake emergency training was developed, incorporating the proposed game mechanism. A controlled experiment with 99 university students and staff was conducted. Participants were divided into three groups, with three interventions tested: a spiral narrated IVR SG, a linear narrated IVR SG, and a leaflet. Both narrated IVR SGs were effective in terms of immediate knowledge gain and self-efficacy improvement. However, challenges and opportunities for future research have been suggested.
Multimedia Tools and Applications, 2023, 82 (1), pp. 125 - 147