The Challenge of Doctoral Supervision

As doctoral supervisors, we need to not only manage the scientific process but also our own and our doctoral students’ expectations. For GEM’s Doctoral School training sessions, we identified the need to open discussions about our practices in doctoral supervision. A gamified approach appeared very quickly as a way to open the black box of doctoral guidance and pastoral care. In this game, we raise the issues of following a scientific process, helping our doctoral students better organize their priorities, showing them how to identify a research community, and understanding publication requirements.

What is a Serious Game

Serious games are games designed for a purpose beyond pure entertainment. They use the motivation levers of game design – such as competition, curiosity, collaboration, individual challenge – and game media, including board games through physical representation or video games, through avatars and 3D immersion, to enhance the motivation of participants to engage in complex or boring tasks.

Serious games are therefore used in a variety of professional situations such as education, training, assessment, recruitment, knowledge management, innovation and scientific research. The increased involvement of participants offers new stimulating possibilities: for example the players of the virtual puzzle game Foldit contribute to scientific research on different diseases (HIV, Aids etc.) through protein folding.

Key Performance Indicators

By playing Superwisor, your organization can achieve several KPIs:


You will observe an increase in supervisor and supervisee satisfaction upon playing the game. We are building empathy in the supervisor-supervisee relationship through Superwisor, and we hope that you will see improvements in that relationship.

Process Improvement

Superwisor will also improve the overall supervision process. We encourage a respect of deadlines and activity reporting. We also encourage publication in top tier journals and hope that you will notice an increase in the number of co-publications at your institution.

Organizational Benefits

You will also receive some organizational benefits from playing Superwisor. The game is on the radar of accreditation organizations and may lead to an increased number of Doctoral researchers’ applications at your institution, and help harmonize the process of doctoral supervision.

How We Created Superwisor

In creating Superwisor, we followed a co-design method. Starting with a bootcamp with doctoral school experts and students, we created 3 game prototypes. Then a game design team of game designers, game developers, and principal investigators was composed and worked on the internal validity of the games. Supervisor was born after three months of iteration, 87 interviews, and 5 playtest sessions with experts.

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Get the license and play Superwisor

Get a license to play Superwisor, design a supervisor training session for your institution with our help, or get access to our resources and experts on supervision.

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