Welcome to Mooving Cows (TM), a digital serious game where players practice appropriate cow-handling skills in routine milking parlor and freestall pen environments.
Why a video game?
- “Serious games” have produced positive learning outcomes in contexts such as professional and military training, educational classrooms, and in health-behavior education.
- Serious games result in better learning and retention compared to conventional instructional approaches.
- Games allow players to experience situations that would be challenging to create otherwise, due to barriers such as cost, time, or safety.
- The setting will be safe for both people and cows. Animal welfare is further enhanced by replacing the use of live animals with simulated ones as players practice their skills.
- Currently played on mobile touchscreen tablets. Version 2.0 will work on Chromebooks too.
- Tutorials to introduce key concepts step-by-step, with voiceover narration.
- To maximize accessibility, the amount of written text is kept to a minimum.
- Available in either English or Spanish. Users can switch between languages at any time.
- Active learning – “learning by doing”.
- Opportunities to learn by making mistakes.
- Visualization to help convey concepts, such as the “flight zone.”
- Immediate feedback on players’ actions, plus end -of-level feedback.
- Certificate of completion, which can be used for documentation of continuing education.
Who is the game for?
- Our target audience is people who work on dairy farms and handle cows on a regular basis. Today, 99% of U.S. dairy farms participate in the Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Animal Care program. An expectation of FARM is that anyone who works with cattle should have annual continuing education in stockmanship (cow handling).
- We are also testing the relevance of the game for additional audiences, including veterinary, undergraduate (animal science), and primary and secondary school students.
- Anyone who might find the game educational and/or enjoyable is welcome to experience it!
How can I play or get access to the game?
Version 1.0 of the game is complete. However, it is currently private for research purposes. We are in the process of incorporating additional feedback from end users to improve the game and upgrade it to Version 2.0. We plan to make the game available in both the iTunes (Apple) and Google Play (Android) app stores. Our vision is for this learning tool to be free for all dairy farms in the U.S. We also hope to make it available for educational purposes. Stay tuned in early 2024 for news about the public release!
Come see Dr. Van Os present about the game at World Dairy Expo (WDE) in Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 at 12:00 pm in the Mendota 1 room. For more details, see: https://worlddairyexpo.com/pages/Expo-Seminars.php. At WDE, you can request a private demo of the game and play it for yourself!
In addition, PhD student Mónica Ruiz-Ramos will give the same presentation in Spanish on Wednesday, October 4 at 2:00 pm at WDE.
In the meantime, to learn more, you can contact Dr. Van Os by email at: jvanos (at) wisc (dot) edu.
- Project lead: Jennifer Van Os
- Project co-lead: Nigel Cook
- Collaborators: Dominic Ledesma, Markus Brauer, Olufunmilola Abraham
- Programmed by: Filament Games
- Funding for Version 1.0: UW-Madison Research Forward Initiative
- Funding for Version 2.0: Wisconsin Dairy Innovation Hub
- Special thanks to all those who gave feedback on the prototypes and Version 1.0, including those who work on or with Wisconsin dairy farms. Full credits appear at the end of the game.
- New interactive video game teaches employees proper cow handling skills. February 14, 2023. By Jennifer Van Os. Wisconsin State Farmer.
- Video game brings cow movement to life. March 23, 2023. By Corey Geiger. Hoard’s Dairyman Intel.