Serious Games and Soft Skills in Higher Education: A Case Study of the Design of Compete!

This article describes the serious game Compete!, developed within the European Erasmus+ framework, that aims to teach soft skills to higher education students in order to increase their employability. Despite the increasing relevance of soft skills for successful entry into the labour market, these are often overlooked in higher education. A participatory learning methodology based on a gamification tool has been used for this purpose. The game presents a series of scenarios describing social sustainability problems that require the application of soft skills identified as key competencies in a field study across different European countries. These competencies are creative problem-solving, effective communication, stress management, and teamwork. On completion of each game scenario and the game itself, students receive an evaluation of both their soft skills and the strategic and operational decisions they have made. In the evaluation of these decisions, both the economic and sustainability aspects of the decision are assessed. The teacher can then address the competencies and sustainability issues using the different game scenarios, thus creating higher motivation and deeper understanding amongst the students. This hybrid learning methodology incorporates digital tools for the cross-curricular teaching and learning of sustainability and soft skills. In conclusion, this article describes a possible method of incorporating soft skills in higher education; this complements students’ technical knowledge while helping to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

Full access at: McGowan, N., López-Serrano, A., & Burgos, D. (2023). Serious Games and Soft Skills in Higher Education: A Case Study of the Design of Compete!. Electronics 2023, 12, 1432. DOI: