Juan Antonio Caballero defends his doctoral thesis, obtaining his PhD in Computer Engineering

Juan Antonio Caballero Hernández, software developer at WATA Factory, obtains a PhD in Computer Engineering after defending his doctoral thesis, achieving the qualification of Outstanding Cum Laude.

The doctoral thesis was carried out within the Official Doctoral Program of Computer Engineering at the University of Cádiz, and was directed by Manuel Palomo Duarte and Juan Manuel Dodero Beardo.


Nowadays, the attention of higher education learning has focused on acquiring the skills by students, instead of the traditional getting of knowledge.

A relevant aspect in the skill assessment is the analysis of the process conducted during the learning experience. Whereas performance outcomes can be easily measured and observed, the followed processes to achieve those outcomes are often are often not as easily measurable or observable with manual approaches.

Serious Games

Serious games-based learning experiences have taken relevance due to the grown of video games industry in recent years. Serious games or educational video games are video games with learning purposes. Playing in these environments, players develop their skills applying several interactions to overcome the challenges posed in the game. These interactions can be stored in event logs as large data sets that can provide the assessment process with objective information about the applied skills.


Unfortunately, serious games-based learning experiences have particular complexities when it comes to assessment.

First, generic factors (i.e. game context: platforms, adventure, etc.) and specific ones (i.e. educational context: higher education, corporate training, etc.) involve complexities in the assessment process.

Second, most assessment methods identified so far in serious games-based learning experiences rely on manual approaches, suffering from scalability issues, scarce detailed assessments and a lack of automatic mechanisms. All these limitations affect the analysis of large data sets as the generated events by the players interactions.

Sequence analysis

Due to the sequential nature of events generated by the game interactions and the detected assessment limitations, sequence analysis techniques can be considered as an alternative to assess the applied skills in serious games-based learning experiences.

Within sequence analysis, process mining techniques allow automatically extracting knowledge from the event logs. Process mining has been successfully applied in multiple educational environments, coining its own term for these kinds of applications: Educational Process Mining (EPM).

Proposed method

In this thesis, a method based on process mining techniques to analyse the interactions produced by the students in a serious games-based learning experience is proposed.

First, a preliminary skill assessment method is introduced. Then, several studies are conducted to explore the benefits of applying process mining techniques in learning experiences. Finally, considering obtained results, a refined proposal for the skill assessment method is proposed, being implemented and validated in a serious games-based learning experience in higher education.

The findings show that process mining techniques provide a suitable method to alleviate limitations of manual assessment in game-based learning experiences. Process mining supports a scalable and detailed analysis of performed interactions. Applying the process mining model discovery was a successful approach to analyse the behaviour of students in sequential processes.

Finally, lasprocess mining techniques provided an automatic support to assess the developed skills during the game experience.

Education and Research: Core Elements in WATA Factory DNA

At WATA Factory we have developed numerous science-based software projects in collaboration with different universities, and we are happy that many of our employees continue to be trained and deepened in various areas of knowledge.

We congratulate Juan Antonio Caballero Hérnandez for his impeccable work en in preparing his thesis, for his continuous effort and desire to improve, and for achieving a qualification of Outstanding Cum Laude, becoming a Doctor in Computer Engineering.

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