Offer future students a virtual tour of the campus
The University of Orleans, located in the Centre-Val de Loire region, offers a wide range of training programs to its students every year, divided into different professional fields. Its international vocation is growing stronger each year, and its capacity for innovation is demonstrated through the dynamism of its research and the transfer of technology to regional, national, and international companies.
"Edifice" is an IDEFI project (Initiatives for Excellence in Innovative Training) established in 2012, which relies on close collaboration between the University of Orleans, its laboratories, nine high schools in the Orleans - Tours academic region, CNRS, BRGM, and INRAE. It is a modular system designed to facilitate the guidance of high school students towards scientific and social science and humanities fields.
Today, the support and assistance provided to students and adults in their professional integration contribute to making the University of Orleans a major player in territorial development. In this context, and in line with the Edifice project, the student experience on campus is a crucial objective.
The University of Orleans offers guidance and support to its prospective students in their choice of orientation through various workshops that bring together students, high school students, and laboratory staff as part of the orientation program of the EDIFICE project. Among these workshops, a campus treasure hunt allows participants to discover the University of Orleans. However, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the feasibility of these workshops, particularly during the lockdown period, when the University had to close its doors and prioritize online classes.
To address this issue, the University of Orleans decided to redesign the physical treasure hunt into an immersive virtual version, accessible primarily to high school students but also to anyone interested in exploring the campus of Orleans, its services, and its range of programs, in a playful manner on PC, tablet, and mobile devices. The game should be available online and accessible to all.
The University of Orleans collaborated with several expert service providers in the field of Serious Games and chose Serious Factory for its close alignment with the initial requirements and pedagogical objectives. The teams at Serious Factory, in co-design with the instructional designers from the EDIFICE project, developed a virtual treasure hunt using the VTS Editor creation software.
The scenario of the treasure hunt is simple: the prospective student is lost in the virtual campus and is invited to embark on a quest proposed by a small robot, acting as a virtual guide. During this quest, the player must find lost pieces scattered throughout the campus.
The design of the game required capturing 360° footage directly on the campus so that students could explore it as if they were physically present. In the game, they have the ability to look around in all directions, which enhances the sense of immersion and helps them familiarize themselves with the campus.
At the end of the game, a questionnaire was sent to the first cohorts of high school students to gather their feedback, assess the relevance of the information provided, and identify potential areas for improvement.
The treasure hunt has recently been deployed on the EDIFICE website directly through the browser and via VTS Player, making it playable on various devices. As a result, quantitative results have not yet been measured.
However, to date, over 100 high school students have already tested the game, and the feedback has been highly positive. According to them, the game is enriching, immersive, innovative, interactive, and highly enjoyable, thanks to the extensive use of gamification. The Juicy Learning method was utilized to design this game, a proven approach that has been successful in creating immersive training simulations.
This initial version of the game represents a solid first step, focusing on the Orleans campus. Its success paves the way for future development of the game for remote sites such as Bourges, Châteauroux, and Issoudun in the coming months.
This project enabled us to propose an innovative, fun way of discovering the Orleans University campus. Serious Factory understood our needs and we were able to co-construct an educational tool adapted to our high school audience. We'll be continuing to develop our project using VTS Editor.