Amazing Makeover Health Edition: Role-Playing for Behavior Change


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Do you schedule regular wellness visits with your doctor? If you don’t, could a game or simulation motivate you to change your behavior? The Center for Advanced Entertainment & Learning Technologies (CAELT) at Harrisburg University has created a game, in partnership with a regional health insurer, with the hopes of doing just that. The mobile role-playing game does not coach the subscriber directly. Instead, the player’s goal is to coach a virtual team to improve their health. We’ll discuss the approach to the game, demo the user experience and discuss any available game play data.

This presentation was given at the 2013 Immersive Learning Conference in San Antonio, TX on January 17, 2013.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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  • Need new image.
  • 00:00-03:00Andy to intro the University and himselfCharles will intro himself
  • Andy (3 minutes)Sim can be different than we might traditional think of it. Sim = sit down and interact for a defined time period and then you’re done??? It could be something else. Extend your simulation experience – make it more real. Extended / real-time timeline(instead of condense timeline – expand timeline (or real-time) – Keyhole game playCreation and control.World Builder (like the sims) - Creation and control (puppet master) – through the eyes of others (Do as I say, not as I do) – Everyone loves to give advice. (but, not get it). Take advantage of mobile (incremental play + impact people in the field/in the moment.)
  • Andy (3 minutes)Healthcare costsGreater illnesses later in lifePreventative care is importantLack of involvement by young, single policy holders in their health and health prevention is a challenge18-35, self-insured (aren’t covered by employer). Already paying money out of pocket.
  • Andy (3 minutes for screens 5 & 6)MotivationAttitude (I’m invincible!). Inconceivable!!Not clear on what changes to make/overwhelmed with changes (too big)Mobile
  • AndyMobile – The client did a survey of the target audience and found that the majority use and prefer mobile communicationsSocial online interactionsInterest in topicDivided attention
  • Andy (11 minutes for screens 7 - 13)Client Engagement / InvestigationExploratory meetingCreate the foundationHealth Game Concept - Health game project outline.doc - Address challenges for influencing the audience - We didn’t think we could address the topic directly. Interests for 18-35? – Reality TV (Reality TV- TV themeIn our early brainstorming we latched on to the reality tv theme. We got to this concept by finding commonality amongst our audience. Whether they like it or not, this is a group that grew up with the form of voyeuristic drama. As we’ve seen the medium is easy to manipulate, and the audience willing to ‘go with’ the farce (hyper reality is not reality) - We thought an embedded/incremental interaction would have more impact, versus sitting down for long sessions of game play. How do 18-35 year olds interact with the web? Mobile & FourSquare & Status - Long-term play (happen over weeks and months). Have them play when they might be making health decisions.Project proposal = concept + process + deliverables + timeline infoAt this stage, our design team was all internal. And consisted of a project manager, myself and Charles.
  • AndyAdd to the team - Julie Dirksen, lead game designerFurther investigationGoal: encourage use of the Pure Wellness web siteRepeated use, something that keeps them coming back and engaging with the siteSticky game that’s fun and interestingPersonal reflection on their health choices and Client provided and/or confirmed health-related information Health and happiness outcome – too much health can make you unhappy (take baby steps to get healthier)Simulation framework Sticky, fun, interesting . . . With IMPACTLooked at why do people make unhealthy choices – peer pressure, time, inconvenience (game should show how to combat all three of these)BJ Fogg – Tiny Habitsstudied human behavior for 18 years, mostly at Stanford University. Here’s what I’ve learned: Only three things will change behavior in the long term.Option A. Have an epiphany- doesn’t happen very often; isn’t dependable and can’t be taughtOption B. Change your context (what surrounds you)Option C. Take baby steps – our approach uses small incremental achievements to lay the ground work for substantial change. Check-ins versus long-term play.Show the results of unreasonable / reasonable choicesAllow people to make selections and see the resultsPrototypesPPTOption 1: Self report and score points (we didn’t want the user to lie)Option 2: a team’s health for a period of time and try to make the team as healthy as possibleStrategy document Geisinger SNAP game strategy 4-19-12.doc
  • AndyStories with episodesPirates, Ninjas and Princesses employment agency (The Office)Segway games bus (won tickets to the Segway games; take a bus with other winners to the games; challenges along the trip) (Road Rules)Establish a society on a new planet; on earth all health decisions are made for us; not the case on new planet; need to make healthy decision on new planet to keep civilization healthyContent Grid –- Show the spreadsheet - User Goal Statuses (5).xlsFunctionality- geisinger_prototype_v3_draft041312.xls
  • AndyRevised stories - Clothing Store - Bar - Rock bandWire framingAdded a writer & commenced writing – NEED SCRIPTS FROM CHARLES - Naming the simulations was the most difficult part of the process Added a graphic designer to the team – created mock ups and designsCreated a requirements doc Amazing_Makeover_Requirements_Specification_v2_060712.doc
  • AndyDevelopment TestingFunctionalitySystem integrationUser feedback
  • AndyTimelineNovember 2011 – February 2012Stage 1February 2012 – April 2012Stage 2 April 2012 – May 2012Stage 3May 2012 – January 2013Stage 4April 2012 – January 2013Stage 5
  • AndySolutionAlmost being releasedNo measurable resultsTechnologyBackend access to make changes (wording changes primarily – is the wording hitting the target)StructureLike the structure – already resulted in an additional season ( framework on how to add seasons)- Reunion season (bring back characters from the seasons
  • Charles (15-20 minutes)Engage them in the new health site with a gameMultilmodal interaction/engagementIn order to work, we had to make the interaction light and readily available. Although the client originally thought we’d only have a mobile version, it was quickly realized that a desktop version with deeper engagement (more story elements) would also improve player engagement.Amazing Makeover: Health Edition (Show a demo of the game: Need to figure out what to show)EpisodeSeasonRepetitive, longer-term interaction for behavior change (When is too short, when is too long?) – relate to Gartner’s Hype Cycle – how long can you capture someone’s attention?Can’t go back and redo an episode.
  • Charles (5 minutes)Design team worked well together (big idea to design details)Offshore developer – divorced design completely from developmentClient – one main point of contact that liaised between client project team and usWeekly meetings (even when they were short, they were necessary in keeping the project moving)Quick prototyping tool builds (Axure – wireframing, prototyping – (
  • Charles (5 minutes)Offshore developer (communication – time of day, miscommunication, etc.)Estimating time needed for design and for development (hard to base it off of volume of pages, interactions, media, etc.)Testing – didn’t have access to the target group for design/functionality/technical testing. (Internal security policies.)
  • Andy (3 minutes)Additional Episodes (Reunion season)Expanded Social Media connection (Enhanced Team Play)Analyze results
  • Andy (3 minutes)What do you think about mobile simulation?What do you think about interacting with a simulation in small increments over time?
  • Learning Technologies is a BIG IDEA around which the University has set a number of initiativesLearning Technologies Master of Science program (including professional development)Also unique to Harrisburg University is a centralized approach to learning technologies. The LTMS program and learning technologies at the university are highly integrated. Increasing faculty adoption of learning technologies is a high priority.CAELT is a combination of efforts from our undergrad new media concentration and the LTMS program. One outcome of that effort is the The Learning & Entertainment Evolution Forum (LEEF) is a yearly forum that focuses on the use of games & simulations for learning. LEEF is actually where we first experienced the Virtusphere as part of the high tech demo area at the event.
  • Amazing Makeover Health Edition: Role-Playing for Behavior Change

    1. 1. Amazing Makeover: Health EditionRole-Playing for Behavior Change
    2. 2. IntroductionsHarrisburg Universityof Science and TechnologyCharles PalmerExecutive Director, CAELTAssociate Professor of New MediaAndy PetroskiDirector of Learning TechnologiesAssistant Professor of Learning Technologies
    3. 3. Why might you be interested in this story?Extend your simulation experienceAllow the learner to create and buildTake advantage of mobile
    4. 4. Environment for Healthcare Provider• Healthcare costs• Greater illness later in life• Preventative care is important• Lack of involvement by young policy holders (18-35, self-insured); 7,500 membersGoal: Participate in the online healthinformation / maintenance site
    5. 5. Insurer’s Challenges for Influencing the AudienceAttitude (I’m invincible!).Not clear on what changesto makeBehavior change takes time
    6. 6. Insurer’s Challenges for Connecting with the AudienceMobileSocialInterest in topicDivided attention
    7. 7. Process: How Snooki was our inspiration stage Client Engagement / InvestigationHealth game concept (codename: ExtremeTransformation Challenge)Project proposal
    8. 8. Process: Eat an apple, not a marathon stage Lead game designerFurther investigationSimulation framework - (fun?)PrototypingStrategy Document
    9. 9. Process: Princesses, Ninjas and Pirates stage Stories with episodes (and a twist) – (fun?)Content gridFunctionality
    10. 10. Process: Are we still having fun? stage Revised stories as seasonsand episodes– (fun?)Wire framingWriter & writingGraphic designer &interface/graphic designRequirements doc
    11. 11. Process: Is 8 AM really 8 AM? stage DevelopmentTesting
    12. 12. Process: Four years and seven score Timeline stage 1November 2011February 2012 stage 2April 2012 stage 3 stage 5 stage 4May 2012January 2013
    13. 13. ResultsSolutionTechnologyStructure
    14. 14. SolutionEngageMultimodal interaction/engagementDual platforms (desktop and mobile web)Demo of game
    15. 15. Lessons Learned – Went WellDesign team worked well together(big idea to design details)Offshore developer – divorceddesign completely fromdevelopmentClient – one main point of contactthat liaised between client projectteam and usWeekly meetings (even when theywere short, they were necessary inkeeping the project moving)
    16. 16. Lessons Learned – Not so muchOffshore developer (communication– time of day, miscommunication,etc.)Estimating time needed for designand for development (hard to base itoff of volume of pages, interactions,media, etc.)Dual platformsTesting – didn’t have access to thetarget group fordesign/functionality/technicaltesting. (Internal security policies.)
    17. 17. FutureAdditional episodesExpanded team playAnalyze results
    18. 18. Were you interested in this story?Extend your simulation experienceAllow the learner to create and buildTake advantage of mobile
    19. 19. QuestionsFire away!Harrisburg Universityof Science and Technologywww.harrisburgu.eduCharles
    20. 20. Learning @ HU• Learning Technologies – BIG IDEA• LTMS (Serious Games & Simulations)• New Media (Game & Web Development Focus)• Center for Advanced Entertainment and Learning Technologies - CAELT
    21. 21. Thank you.