The ideal of interactive, highly engaging training and education is ancient. A Chinese proverb says: “Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand.”. However, the gap continues between the outdated passive education / training methods and the learner (student or employee) living in an increasingly interactive, multimedia and user-controlled lifestyle. Game-based learning tools aimed at bridging this gap and promise much more productive, dedicated and engaged students and employees — ones who embrace learning instead of seeing it as an aggravating process and a disruptive burden. The chronic problem of how to win students’ attention in order to teach has become acute. Well-designed digital games — complete with realistic settings and compelling narratives — are to this and future generations what adventure novels like Robinson Crusoe, Huckleberry Finn, and Animal Farm were to previous ones. Used for learning, well-designed games are able to cut through distractions and engage this audience in a way that few other methods can (Gee, P. J. (2015)).
The Natural Interactive Learning Games and Environments Lab (NILE ) is an innovative and self-contained research unit of the Artificial Intelligence and System Engineering Laboratory (AISE) of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) of the Hellenic Mediterranean University (HMU). The lab was established in 2011.
The main objectives of NiLE gamelab are:
- to educate and support students of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) in their effort to acquire basic theoretical knowledge, state of the art laboratory experiences and high-quality skills and expertise.
- to offer opportunities for industrial placement and final year projects for undergraduate students willing to gain practical experience in selected technological domains.
- to undertake R&D activities in selected scientific domains and emerging technologies such as Serious Games, Games-based learning, Software Design, Software Engineering, Natural User Interaction, Inclusive design, Multimodal Sensing, Educational Virtual environments & ecosystems, and Assistive technologies.
- to build software, educational serious games and simulations with the user for the user and jointly with national and international industry that finish up to commercial products.
Moreover, the lab has developed collaborations with various local, national and international Universities and Institutions, as well as the Industry. The lab is directed by Associate Professor Nikolas Vidakis.
The NiLE laboratory areas of research & investigation include:
- Developing games to demonstrate and conduct research
- Play testing research
- Game-based learning
- Inclusive design
- Serious Games
- Multimodal Sensing and Natural User Interfaces
- Educational Virtual environments / ecosystems