Game-based Teaching and Training Environments for Software Refactoring

Thorsten Händler

Publication: ThesisDoctoral thesis


Over time, software systems can become increasingly complex due to ongoing changes and extensions, which often makes them difficult to maintain for software developers. In particular, issues and flaws (such as bad smells) in source code or software design and architecture can negatively impact a system's maintainability and evolvability, which can lead to a massive cost increase of software projects (by accumulating a system's technical debt). Although software refactoring is widely considered important to manage complexity and to improve the internal quality of software systems by removing these issues, it is often neglected in practice. Among other reasons (such as the associated costs), refactoring is often perceived by software developers as a difficult and risky activity. This PhD thesis addresses the need for software developers to be competent in performing software-refactoring activities efficiently. Its objective is to investigate how interactive game-based teaching and training environments can be developed and applied to support developers in acquiring and improving practical competences in software refactoring. For this purpose, research techniques from the fields of information systems, software engineering as well as (software-engineering) education and training are combined. Basically, the project is guided by the design-science research methodology (DSRM), which basically consists in the development and evaluation of artifacts that aim at addressing certain problems or challenges considered relevant. For the design and development of artifacts, we combine techniques of analytic and conceptual investigation (e.g. based on literature reviews) resulting in conceptual artifacts such as process models and competence frameworks as well as exploratory and prototypical investigation (e.g. in terms of software prototyping) resulting in concrete game-based training environments such as tutoring systems or serious games. Different evaluation techniques are then
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Institute for Complex Networks
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 102022 Software development
  • 102
  • 102015 Information systems
  • 502050 Business informatics

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