Serious games for learning prevention through design concepts: An experimental study

Zia Ud Din, Edd Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Many accidents occur during construction and maintenance of facilities. Logically, decisions made during the design and planning of a project can influence workers’ safety. The approach of considering safety in design and planning to control workplace hazards is called Prevention through Design (PtD). Many fresh graduates from architecture, construction, and civil engineering programs do not learn about PtD. Hence, the organizations which hire these graduates have to train them in the area of PtD. In most university curricula, there is no room for a new course focused on PtD. Then non-traditional approaches such as computer games and simulations can be implemented to teach PtD in universities. Computer games are routinely considered as the most important and influential medium by today's college students. The present work aims to measure the effectiveness of computer games to train and educate students for safe design thinking. Therefore, three interventions—a computer-based serious game, a paper-based game (the paper version of the serious game) and a traditional lecture—were developed and implemented to measure their pedagogical value. The serious game was found to be more effective as compared to the lecture. The paper-based game failed to motivate the students to learn. This paper discusses the possible reasons for the success and failures of these pedagogical approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-187
Number of pages12
JournalSafety Science
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Construction education
  • Engineering education
  • Innovative pedagogies
  • Prevention through design
  • Serious games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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