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Serious Games Transcending The Traditional English Lesson

Vital Signs - Image credit: Classroom, Inc.

Vital Signs, developed by FableVision Studios for Classroom, Inc., was selected as a finalist in the 2018 Serious Games Showcase and Challenge in the Business Category.

Classroom, Inc.’s newest Serious Game, Vital Signs, focuses on healthcare and is the third in Classroom, Inc.’s award-winning Read to Lead suite of literacy learning programs. (Please find also Simulated Workplace Experiences, Grounded In Reading Standards, Connect School To Career).

The Read to Lead series is a great way for students to build literacy competency in a dynamic and engaging context – but Classroom, Inc. knows that there’s no reason why students can’t also work on higher-level critical reasoning and decision-making skills at the same time. This interdisciplinary philosophy is exemplified in Classroom, Inc.’s blended learning model, which combines scaffolded literacy skills with collaborative project-based activities to create unique learning experiences that transcend the traditional English lesson. 

FableVision perspective is that “Vital Signs gameplay takes place at the intersection of a variety of educational topics, from literacy skills to leadership – and somehow manages to remain fun and engaging at the same time.”

“Students have big shoes to fill when they step into the world of Vital Signs. Playing as the medical director of a bustling community clinic in a fictional city, students must work with clinic staff and patients to make decisions and solve the thorny problems that present themselves each episode. From the exam room to the counseling office, behind each clinic door there waits a challenge that will strengthen students’ learning. Researching and summarizing the symptoms of a patient’s anxiety requires reading comprehension and writing skills, while choosing the right treatment course pushes students to flex their decision-making muscles.” (Source: FableVision Blog)

Vital Signs Staff - Image credit: Classroom, Inc.

There are 12 episodes in total in Vital Signs. Each 20–30 minute game episode focuses on one workplace challenge: a problem or issue that students must address by gathering information, analyzing the situation, and making a decision. Each work-related issue can only be solved by collecting and analyzing information, considering multiple points of view, and applying critical thinking and problem solving skills.


In the game, students take on the role of the medical director of a community-based family clinic. The community is called Port Douglas, and it is a common strand throughout all Read to Lead learning game experiences, including After the Storm and Community in Crisis.

As the medical director, students have ample opportunities to engage with text, as they read their way through conversations with colleagues and patients, review medical texts, resources, and other documents that they encounter as a part of their work day, and compose and edit emails and reports. All of these encounters with text both immerse students in the game’s story and help the players make vital decisions in their professional role.

In Vital Signs, these problems will include patient care decisions as well as operational questions about the running of the clinic. As the medical director of the Be Well Family Clinic, a student’s primary problem might involve determining the proper diagnosis for a patient by doing an intake interview, consulting with other professionals in the clinic, analyzing the patient’s medical history, or making a decision as to diagnosis and/or treatment.

Vital Signs Episode 4 - Image credit: Classroom, Inc.

Vital Signs Episode 4 - Image credit: Classroom, Inc.

Similarly to the other two games in the Read to Lead learning series (“Community in Crisis” and “After the Storm”), Classroom, Inc., with its new game Vital Signs, does a great job in immersing players in a personalized workplace experience grounded in reading standards.