Gamification in Educational Process – Experience of Odesa Polytechnic University

“What does the gamification mean for the education? What is the difference between “game” and “play”? What is the difference between a game and a toy? How and for what the game is used in the educational process?”, Oleh Maslov, Head of the Department of Physics in the Odesa National Polytechnic University (ONPU), started his speech within the XV Ukrainian Conference on Physical Protection, Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials. The event takes place in Enerhodar (Zaporizhzhya oblast) at the Cultural and Business Center of Zaporizhzhya NPP.

Oleh Maslov, Head of the Department of Physics in the Odesa National Polytechnic University (ONPU)

Oleh Maslov explained the difference between the terms to the participants and conference guests and shared experience in the implementation of gaming techniques into the training of future experts of nuclear power plants.

“Game” is different from a toy or “play” by the presence of clear rules, limitations, incentives, competition, conflict of interest of the players and the presence of the goal. The use of games in the educational process is called gamification and contributes to better understanding of materials by students”, ONPU representative told.

Currently, some national universities, including ONPU, are involved into the implementation of the international project Erasmus+ KA2 “University-Enterprises Cooperation in Game Industry in Ukraine – GameHub”. The project objective is to combine different areas of training experts into a unified educational process: implementation of computer games into studying taking into account skills and interests of students and providing young people with knowledge and skills they need for finding a job. 

In ONPU, gamification was implemented and tested within the computer science specialty and it is currently introduced into the educational process at the Department of Nuclear Power Plants. The purpose of such an approach is that each student himself/herself creates a computer game, in which he/she simulates the movement of the unauthorized person who entered the controlled area of the facility, provides for his/her detection and detention. Therefore, students learn the methodology of system analysis of the physical protection systems.

“Creating of computer game, the students learn to see a nuclear power plant as a systemic object and understand what consequences even minor offences may have”, Mr. Maslov said.

In the training process, the students create game scenes in the form of the plan of room, building or territory, place sensors to detect invasion to the facility, define the route of a conditional offender, select a number of players and their roles, establish game rules and conditions of victory. According to ONPU representative, degree of level details, rules of player behavior, their compliance with the reality depend on the skills of the developer.

“We want students to see NPP as an integral facility. Among others, as future experts they must understand the features of physical protection, because it is an integral part of nuclear safety”, Oleh Maslov said. “Creation of computer games in the training process allows students to understand better the importance of physical protection, identify problem areas and work for their improvement. Besides, the game is more demonstrative for the young people than plain theory”.