Executive summary WP2


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WP 2 ANALYSIS ON THE USE OF GAME-BASED LEARNING INITIATIVES: Success stories – compilation of game-based learning initiatives in adults’ education

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Executive summary WP2

  1. 1. WP 2 ANALYSIS ON THE USE OF GAME-BASED LEARNING INITIATIVESSuccess stories – compilation of game-based learning initiatives in adults’ education EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  2. 2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2 Success stories – compilation of game-based learning initiatives in adults’ educationCOMPILATION OF GAME-BASED LEARNING RESEARCHINITIATIVES IN ADULT EDUCATIONThis final report “Success stories – compilation of game-based learning initiatives inadults’ education” and its appendices contains the main conclusions of national andinternational research on the design and implementation of game-based learninginitiatives in adult education and were developed within the framework of the Playing forInterculturality (P4I) Project (Ref. 518475-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-GRUNDTVIG-GMP), WorkPackage 2, “Analysis on the use of game-based learning initiatives.” It aims at analyzing thepedagogical potential of games (especially social games) applied to competencesdevelopment, identifying those variables that influence the successful implementation ofgame-based learning initiatives, as well as gathering success examples and good practiceson EU and international levels to be used as inspirations for adults training practitioners.The methodologies employed were to search for relevant information, hold focus groupsof members of the target group, and interviews with specialists in the target groupmembers.In each of the countries studied (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Romania, the UK and theUS) the use of game-based learning is a rapidly growing trend that is pervading differentareas of knowledge. It has gained considerable traction and we can observe a significantqualitative change, nevertheless there is still prevailing gap in usage, in part due tonegative stereotypes of gamers, limited expertise in ICT and in games among trainers, anda shortage of good educational games. While there is often a lack of pedagogical designbehind current social games, the profile of social game players and gamers is increasinglybroad, covering a wide demographic across gender, age and social status that offers anopportunity for game-based learning. Assuming the target audience to be adults, there issignificant growth in their use of social media such as Facebook and of social games at thistime. The gap between access and participation has closed significantly so that theplatform on which the game would be made available is critical to determining who wouldlikely use it and whom else they might recruit to participate. What drives such players toplay are the desire to meet new people, to cooperate, to try new games, find new forms ofself-expression, to relieve stress, widen networks, experiment with new identities, and the
  3. 3. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3 Success stories – compilation of game-based learning initiatives in adults’ educationdesire to compete and challenge the others. Players tend to feel secure, respected,esteemed, empowered, in charge; they are likely to make an investment in it.A wide range of intercultural competences surfaced in the research on effective games.Those that seemed most appropriate as learning objectives for a social game for adultswere self-awareness of prejudices and stereotypes, the diversity of communication styles,suspending judgment and empathy. In addition, successfully engaging players will likelypromote a number of related competences, including digital competences, collaboration,lateral and strategic thinking, and new forms of literacy, including problem solving,analysis and creative reconstruction of content, multitasking, critical judgment, trans-media navigation, and social interactions and negotiation.The pedagogical potential of social games to achieve these objectives and promote thesecompetences derives from immersive and interactive engagement; self-paced, non-linearand branching activities with multiple outcomes; collaboration and competition;contextual learning that can simulate real life situations, such as solving problems socially;integrated precise performance measurement and feedback. Fun and engaging gamescapture curiosity and encourage players to work and play together for their mutualgrowth and success.The successful implementation of a game-based learning initiative depends on a numberof variables, not all of which are under the control of the creators. Online gamers oftensuffer from slow internet connections, glitches in the platform functioning, technicalliteracy, even finding friends and foes with whom to play. Since the most importantvariable is engagement, that the player suspends disbelief and becomes immersed in theactivities of the game which, if well designed, result in the change in attitude and behaviorthat is sought the game design, development and deployment needs to avoid as manyobstacles to this engagement as possible.A wide range of success examples surfaced in the search and conversations. Each of thenational reports lists a select few that should be played for inspiration. From wildlypopular commercial games such as The Sims and Farmville, to effective transformationalgames such as Darfur is Dying, Peacemaker, Global Conflicts – Palestine, and PING(Poverty is Not a Game), all share designs that bring players back, encourage them toinvolve others, and promote envisioning the real world in a different way. From themdesigners should learn to define very specifically what they want to achieve, provide for a
  4. 4. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 4 Success stories – compilation of game-based learning initiatives in adults’ educationvariety of contexts for play (including traditional classrooms), and find both a compellingstory and engaging activities to advance it.Taken together, the national reports are a rich collection of experience and intelligencethat should be re-visited regularly in any design, development, and deployment processinvolving games to promote adult competences.