Serious games are an emerging field where the games are supposed to be created using sound learning theories and instructional design principles to maximize learning and training success. Serious games analytics are defined as the actionable insights developed through problem definition in training/learning scenarios and the application of statistical models, metrics, and analysis for skills and human performance improvement and assessment, using serious games as the primary tools for training. If the primary purpose of serious games is to improve skills and performance of play-learners, the gameplay becomes much more important for multiple reasons: engaging play-learners with learning contents, motivating play-learners for persistence, allowing interaction and learning-by-doing, etc. Since serious games are software, researchers can take advantage of the architecture to collect user-generated data in situ (telemetry), or through external add-on devices (e.g., eye tracking, Kinect). The game engine can be enhanced to include debriefing capabilities for performance assessment (both ad hoc and post hoc), even real-time reporting (through Information Trails). Analysis of the user-generated data includes not only the traditional quantitative and qualitative methods, but also cutting-edge techniques – e.g., data mining, machine/statistical learning, and pattern recognition.
The purpose of Serious Games Analytics is to provide stakeholders with the actionable insights to affect policies and implement strategies for the (re)training, education, and improvement of return of investment. New metrics and methods must be developed to obtain the right Serious Games Analytics because they are more than ‘game analytics for learning’ and ‘learning analytics for games’. Besides obvious performance measurement, assessment, and improvement, new research efforts in Serious Games Analytics include replay analysis, medical education, play-learner profiling, expert-novice differentiation, rehabilitation, and many others.
Closely linked to this topic is the book series co-edited by the presenter: ‘Advances in Game-based Learning’ (http://www.springer.com/series/13094).