Acceptance of Serious Games to Develop Digital Competencies in Higher Education Professors


  • Dr. Juan Carlos Sandí-Delgado Professor and Researcher at School of Computer Science, Recinto de Guápiles - Sede del Atlántico, University of Costa Rica, Limón, Costa Rica.
  • Dra. Cecilia Sanz Professor and Researcher at Institute of Research at Computer Science III-LIDI, School of Computer Science, National University of La Plata, Associate Researcher of CIC, La Plata, Argentina.
  • Mag. Edith Lovos Professor and Researcher at School of Computer Science, Sede Atlántica - National University of Río Negro, Río Negro, Argentina.



serious games, digital competencies, professors training, technology acceptance model, higher education


Serious games are the focus of the current research agenda. They show promise for allowing students to learn and practice skills. In fewer studies, they are used for the development of academic competencies. Therefore, it is of interest to deepen the research on the benefits of serious games in academic education and training. This article presents a study using serious games aimed at higher education academics’ training for the development of digital competencies. The study was carried out with 56 academics, using the serious game called AstroCódigo. The study analyzed the level of acceptance of serious games using the TAM model and what factors the academics believe affect this acceptance. It is important to know possible barriers that affect the development of actions oriented to the formation of academic competencies through serious games, which can also affect the adoption of games as a resource for teaching situations. None of prior studies have focused on analyzing the technological acceptance of serious games used for the development of academic competencies. The results of this research indicate that participants believe that using serious games can be beneficial to drive digital competencies. However, there are aspects such as the highest academic qualification, work experience, professional development, perceived usefulness, ease of use, and fear of change associated with age rank which can play a negative role in the use and acceptance of digital technologies by academics, particularly serious games. These results may be a clue to the barriers linked to the fact that most of the participants in this study do not use serious games in their classes or for their digital skills training. Additionally, the possibility to try and fail and the increased level of challenges proposed in the serious games, related to enjoyment, were valued by academics, during the sessions with AstroCódigo. These findings open the door to organize strategies for academic training in digital competencies within higher education institutions. They can also impact the design decisions of new serious games.

Author Biographies

Dr. Juan Carlos Sandí-Delgado, Professor and Researcher at School of Computer Science, Recinto de Guápiles - Sede del Atlántico, University of Costa Rica, Limón, Costa Rica.

Doctoral candidate in Computer Science. Master and Specialization in Information Technologies Applied to Education. Specialization in Networks and Security. National University of La Plata (UNLP), Argentina. Master in University Administration and B.A. in Design and Development of Educational Spaces with ICTs. University of Costa Rica (UCR), Costa Rica. Educator and Researcher at UCR.  E-mail:  ORCID:

Dra. Cecilia Sanz, Professor and Researcher at Institute of Research at Computer Science III-LIDI, School of Computer Science, National University of La Plata, Associate Researcher of CIC, La Plata, Argentina.

Doctor in Computer Science, National University of La Plata (UNLP). Full-Time Head Professor, School of Computer Science, UNLP. Director of the Master in Information Technologies Applied to Education and Member of III LIDI, CIC, FI, UNLP. E-mail: ORCID:

Mag. Edith Lovos, Professor and Researcher at School of Computer Science, Sede Atlántica - National University of Río Negro, Río Negro, Argentina.

Master in Information Technology Applied to Education, National University of La Plata (UNLP). Educator and Researcher at National University of Río Negro (UNRN). Member of CIEDIS (Interdisciplinary Center of Studies on Rights, Inclusion and Society), UNRN. E-mail:  ORCID:


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21 Apr 2022