SUSMILE: Serious Games and innovation for students

The Institute for Transport and Logistics (ITL) is partner of the Erasmus+ SUSMILE project, financed by the Erasmus+ Programme. SUSMILE aims to develop a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) including e-learning modules, evolutive contents and a serious game, integrating high quality learning resources for VET providers to be able to train their students online on fresh, practical and innovative concepts related to sustainable last mile logistics.

Needless to say, online learning has become an essential support for teaching during the Covid19 pandemic and SUSMILE will produce important outputs for technical and vocational training. Ms Eleonora Tu (ITL) has discussed the outcomes of SUSMILE with Mr. Giuseppe Bardelli (Forpin) to investigate the initial reaction and trainers and students could have to the project’s results. Mr. Bardelli has been for over 11 years the coordinator of V EQF level logistics and mobility courses in Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy), called ITS (Istituto Tecnico Superiore – Higher Technical Institute).

“From my experience, I believe that technological learning tools in training courses are fundamental because they allow users to interact with them. Sometimes technological tools in training are not adequately exploited, they have much potential, also for self-training” he commented.

“In my experience, at the beginning, students tended to perceive a bit mildly the interactive learning tools but, over time, they became more and more collaborative. Surely the pandemic has accelerated a path that would otherwise have been much longer and more torturous. The online courses and training will not cease with the end of the pandemic but will remain important and with great potential for development. Regardless of the pandemic and within the ITS realm, our Region allows for the use of online training for 25% of the total amount of annual training hours. I believe that this will remain in the future as a demonstration of the importance of this type of training”.

Mr. Bardelli also made a reflection over the online training.

“Online training and more generally the technology at the service of training will be one of the most important positive legacies of the pandemic crisis we are going through. We have noticed an improvement in the tools made available by large companies in the sector, and I am convinced that in the future part of the training will remain online. The innovative tools in the field of training allow greater flexibility to teachers as well as learners, and in some didactic areas they could even replace previous training methods”.

One of the most anticipated outputs of SUSMILE will undoubtedly be the development of a serious game. Serious Games are online games that do not have entertainment, enjoyment, or fun as their primary purpose, and the player is exposed to an environment which delivers a content stemming from a know-how or experience [1]. In the case of SUSMILE, it will be related to last mile delivery. Mr. Bardelli confirmed the great interest in this type of output.

“Within our ITS courses a few years ago we concretely considered the idea of ​​buying a Serious Game that concerned logistics. However, we had to give up for economic reasons, as the serious games on the market were too expensive and outside the budget that the regional funding allowed us. We would absolutely welcome a serious game that we could use during classes from the SUSMILE project”.

[1] Fedwa Laamarti, Mohamad Eid, Abdulmotaleb El Saddik, “An Overview of Serious Games”, International Journal of Computer Games Technology, vol. 2014, Article ID 358152, 15 pages, 2014.