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Merit of Computer Game in Tacit Knowledge Acquisition and Retention for Safety Training in the Construction Industry

By Nidhi Mahavirprasad Jain


Although many efforts have been exerted to increase safety on construction sites, it has never been easy to run a construction project with zero accidents. Previous research indicated that lessons learned from previous projects could help construction professionals prevent repetitive mistakes, but those lessons are based on individual experience, and therefore it is difficult to document and reuse them. Various web-based database systems were suggested to better manage this tacit knowledge in construction, but transforming someone's tacit knowledge into value for the next project using these systems is still challenging. Well-designed computer games often offer a number of constructive instructional features especially for young generations who have grown up in an era of computer games. Research in education reports that visual presentation facilitates the human's cognitive process. Would visual representation of tacit knowledge in a computer game help construction professionals acquire tacit knowledge and use it to reduce repetitive accidents on construction sites? In order to figure out whether visual presentation of accident cases in a computer game could improve tacit knowledge acquisition and retention, a prototype Xbox 360 computer game presenting accident scenes using 3D computer models was developed and tested with college students working in the field of construction management. The game had 3D construction site accident scenes with treasure boxes hidden and the players had to find the treasure boxes and read the information obtained from it. The treasure boxes were placed relative to the information they carried. The text part had the same accident scenes explained in text with details of what should have been followed to avoid the accident. Students from the field of construction management and civil engineering were requested to participate in the test. Each participant went through two accidents in text and two accidents in the game environment and answered a set of 16 questions based on the knowledge they gained. There was no time limit for the test. They also had to answer an exit question as to which training method they preferred. The participants were asked to come again on the seventh day to answer a set of 16 questions without going through any training to check the retention of knowledge. Statistically we can say that on an overall basis visual training had more correct answers than text for knowledge dissemination as well as retention. But there was no statistical difference seen in the number of correct answers obtained from dissemination and retention tests for text as well as visual training

Topics: game, safety training, construction, knowledge dissemination, knowledge retention
Year: 2010
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