Design considerations for developing a game-based learning resource for cyber security education

Balakrishna, Chitra (2021). Design considerations for developing a game-based learning resource for cyber security education. In: Proceedings of the European Conference on Games-based Learning, 2021-Sept pp. 80–89.



An effective cyber-security training calls for change of behaviour that requires more than providing information about risks and reactive behaviours as in existing instructional approach. This involves complementing traditional lectures with active learning experiences. The young learners that are exposed to digital technologies all their lives, often referred to as 'Millennials' (Brinkworth et al, 2009) are not particularly motivated by traditional, one-way lecture/presentation-based learning within the classroom setting. Consequently, there is an increasing pressure on educators to promote student engagement by being not just deliverers of content, but facilitators of the learning process (Hamari et al, 2004). This is often accomplished through active learning strategies such as the flipped classroom, technology integration and use of game-based learning methods. In this paper, we present the design considerations for developing game-based learning resources for cyber security education within the higher education setting. The discussion in this paper is based on the experience of designing a cyber security game for a second-year cyber security module to introduce concepts penetration testing and information gathering to students. The paper explores the challenges in designing a game-based learning resource for cyber security education. The particular focus is on the impact of using game jams and student-centric co-creation methods in game design. The paper further elaborates on how the learning objectives and pedagogical intent were mapped to the appropriate game mechanics during the game design process ensuring the game-based learning resource do not compromise on learning. The paper presents initial results of field-trialling the game among 16-17 year old learners.

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