#playingforreal #gamification levels

Referring back to my post on the ErasmusPlus project, I’m currently writing a report on what we have learnt from the experience of using non-digital gamification for engaging unemployed adults from the different EU countries. Based on the levels briefly mentioned in my last post, please see below the descriptions of each of them (ErasmusPlus Gamification for the Hard-to-Reach project, 2015). The full taxonomy and template will be released and shared on the project’s online hub. Special acknowledgement to the project team, especially Jan Gejel, Oscar Garcia Panella and Alex Ando.

Level 1 Icebreaker gameplay: Getting to know each other and start playing together in teams
This level aims to create a relaxed and convivial atmosphere among participants who probably are nervous and who don’t know each other. However, we also want to convey some key messages: we need to realise that we are becoming part of an exciting and challenging journey, where we need to question previous mind patterns and face some of our ingrained prejudices and views of how things are done “traditionally” in order to break with the past and move to new way of approaching issues. The game demonstrates that taboos can be faced and challenged and it manages to trace a fine line between surprise and shock (positive) and upset and disgust (negative), showing that there are many ways of reacting and that critical thinking is a key element. But – most of all – the gaming indicates that it is also important to have FUN!

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel comfortable with the team and I have decided to continue to participate”

Level 2 Listening to anger gameplay: Identifying, listening to and channeling one’s anger to achieve his or her goals
Having (hopefully) communicated the need to let go of taboos and past constraints, we need to continue helping this process of release by allowing the participants to vent their anger and frustration as well allowing a space to voice hopes and dreams of a possible new life. The participants should be able to share their stories and tell how their experiences of joblessness have caused damage and suffering. The facilitator should encourage them to let if all out. The fun must come with a stimulating game, as the outcome could be more cathartic than amusing.

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel my frustration is accepted and even appreciated and that I do not have to hide it when we work together in the team”

Level 3 Curiosity gameplay: Promoting the positive role of curiosity, element that encourages human beings towards discovery and innovation
At this point the participants have expressed and hopefully released to some extent the frustrations and anger with their current situation… It is now necessary to develop in our participants the curiosity about possible new solutions and some insight on the possible effectiveness brought on by a change of attitudes regarding their current situation. The game should be able to allow the participants to experience a shift in perspective: for instance, a role-playing game played from the point of view of an employer could give the participants a different insight and make them experience what it means to be in control.

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel I can start opening up to the ideas presented in the team and also start presenting some of my own ideas and visions”

Level 4 Motivation gameplay: Building up and boosting motivation
Once the participants feel – thanks to the previous game – that they want to try new opportunities because it feels good to be in control, we need to build up and boost their motivation. So what is more motivating that trying to identify if weird things other people have done can work or not and be again surprised by what a bit of “different” thinking, ingenuity and a positive attitude can achieve? The sky is the limit (nearly) if one is resourceful and creative. This game is the first step – in a process that hopefully sees the participants moving from the position of observers to that one of protagonists – in imagining and understanding what happens to others and how something similar could happen to oneself.

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel more encouraged to bring out ideas and visions that I never through I would take seriously – or that other people would take seriously. I start to enjoy this freer thinking…”

Level 5 Community gameplay: Working the community
In reality one has to take into account the fact that we are not all creative and inventive and full of initiative. “Those people we learned about in the previous game were special in some way, but I’m not like that! Where shall I get inspiration from? Where did many of the people who have succeeded in creating something new and wondrous get their inspirational flash?” Often new initiatives come to life thanks to the observation of gaps in the market: where better – therefore – to see that than in one’s local community? One needs then to look at the community through different eyes, through critical and creative lenses that are able to investigate “why are things like this?”, “is this how I really want them?”, “what could I do to improve them?” “what is missing that I could provide?” The game should help the participants observe their community and the lack or presence of resources.

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel increasingly able to link my ideas, visions or possible perspectives to what is needed in the community, what other people need – or what could be a success in real life”

Level 6 Key witnesses gameplay: Real people in real action
Having acquired new tools to look at the strengths and weaknesses of one’s community and perhaps having already identified possible opportunities, what better than to play a game which lets the participant actually meet people in the local community who have taken the plunge, risked doing something on their own and now have a business which they are proud to own? The game allows one to meet such entrepreneurs, see that they actually exist and that they are normal people, ask them questions about their business and perhaps even discuss any new ideas that might have come up.

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel encouraged by working with and meeting people who have taken action in the community and tried out new directions”

Level 7 Creative projects gameplay: Building missions and projects
Having seen that real people can produce real results, we will take a step further the challenge of observing, discussing and creating. The participants, divided into groups, will engage in creating a business with the random resources the game will assigned them. The participants will play and make decisions with a set of random resources (places, people, money, objects) and will be able to change them only a little. They will have to think and create, as a team, using the “cards” the game has dealt them: after all, the next game is…real life!

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel ready to start plan and carry out real-life initiatives I wish to pursue, and I feel comfortable about the support I get from the team”

Level 8 Playing for real: What are you going to do about it?
This level is about reflecting on the experience and outcomes from the activities. The missions and projects developed in Level 7 should be taken forward into the real world. How are they going to be implemented and how realistic would this be? How can the community follow the proposed initiatives?

I will also share some videos from the practice partners working with their local groups.

Learn more about the project by looking at Stephanie’s story (Click on the image below):

0 - Intro

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