This thesis explores the use of serious games from an instructor perspective. More specifically, it aims to study the roles of instructors and how they can be facilitated within an instructor-led game-based training environment. Research within the field of serious games has mostly focused on the learners' perspective, but little attention has been paid to what the instructors do and what challenges that entails. In this thesis, I argue that serious games, as artefacts used for learning and training, cannot fully replace the instructors' tasks, but must rather be designed to facilitate the various activities of the instructors. Thus, instructors form an important target audience in serious game development – not just as subject matter experts, but also as users and players of the game – with a different set of needs than the learners. Moreover, serious gaming (the actualisation of a serious game) involves more than in-game activities, it also involves actions and events that occur off-game. These activities must also be considered when designing and utilising games for learning and training.
Using a qualitative approach, instructor-led serious gaming has been explored from a range of contexts, from rehabilitation to incident commander training and military training. Several different instructor roles have been identified and characterised, including in-game facilitator, puckster, debriefer, technical support and subject matter expert. Based on empirical and theoretical material, a framework for instructor-led serious gaming has been developed. It involves best practices in different phases of game-based training, such as scenario authoring, coaching-by-gaming, assessing in-game and off-game performance, giving feedback, and conducting a debriefing or after-action review. Furthermore, specific needs and challenges for instructors have been identified and reformulated into guidelines for instructor-led serious gaming. The guidelines highlight the importance of usability and visualisation, as well as the need for carefully designed support tools for instructors' situation awareness, assessment and debriefing. Lastly, a number of success factors pertaining to both the development and actualisation of serious games are presented. Since serious games aim to be both productive and engaging, it is advantageous to work with interdisciplinary teams when developing serious games. This includes subject matter experts well versed in serious gaming practices. Furthermore, a successful serious game should adhere to sound pedagogical theories, be easy to use and maintain, and include system support for instructors' tasks. Successful serious gaming practices also involve having an organisational culture that fosters knowledge sharing among practitioners.