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Methodology

The EMERGO methodology takes ADDIE, a well-known phasing approach for instructional materials, as its starting point. It also adopts Unified Processing, an approach for software development. Both approaches are transformed and extended towards the domain of serious games (referred to as cases).

ADDIE is an abbreviation of Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Methodology for case development: from Case Idea to Case Evaluation.
Green arrows indicate an advised order but phases can be conducted iteratively (black arrows).

During analysis, the why, what, and for whom are specified and it is sketched how the case will be integrated within other instruction materials. The case idea globally describes the case and its context of use. During design, successive steps lead to the documents framework scenario, ingredients scenario and detailed scenario. The detailed scenario describes for every case character which activities are to be carried out with which persons, which tools and resources can be used under what circumstances. This provides input for development where data-entry for the flow and resources takes place, and the case is tested. During implementation, it is specified how and for whom the case will be available and how their case progress can be monitored. Finally, an evaluation of whether the case functions as intended is performed. Do users interact with the case as expected? 

Although all phases can be conducted in this order, it is recommended to use iterations. In other words, use a Unified Process approach with cycles instead of the classical waterfall approach. Design assumptions and expectations can be tested during development, and gradually a uniform picture can arise that is supported by the whole project team. Being based upon ADDIE and Unified Process, the EMERGO methodology prevents overspending and minimizes risks of failures. Case parts will be developed and tested in cycles, which results in more intense and frequent – but not necessarily more time consuming – communication between various stakeholders. An important precondition for enabling shorter cycles is the ability to carry them out quick and easy. The EMERGO toolkit caters for this need.

A more detailed description of the five EMERGO phases and the toolkit are available as a separate document (accepted article for ISAGA 2007).