GameChangers remixed

game changer logo 300dpiThe GameChangers programme has been a key initiative at Coventry University powered by our interest in the need for playful and gameful approaches to be embedded in teaching and learning. Best practices and lessons learnt from the programme have inspired two new spin off initiatives: Mobile GameChangers (Coventry multi-campuses) and CreativeCulture (UK-Malaysia)  which have recently received funding from HEFCE and NEWTON/AHRC/MOHE respectively.

Mobile GameChangers (HEFCE) will bring the practices of game design thinking and playful learning to the different Coventry University campuses, creating a community of playful learners. The project aims to establish an open game design and literacy course and a community of Coventry University undergraduate students across its various campuses, and linking it with both amateur and professional communities in the field of game development. The project will build upon existing experimental pilot initiatives (collectively branded as the GameChangers programme). The approach is underpinned by the pedagogical constructs of ‘game-based learning’ and ‘learning by designing’. By equipping students with conceptual tools for reading and remixing key aspects of current media ecology, they will be able to acknowledge, support and foster their own capacity for active engagement in complex systems-based creative processes, not only as consumers but also as curators, creators and critical thinkers.

CreativeCulture (NEWTON) aims to expand the programme to address educational challenges within the context of inclusive learning for learners from the rural parts of Malaysia Borneo. CreativeCulture will involve collaborations with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), where we will explore, exploit and experiment the impact of arts, design and culture in enhancing creative thinking and development in education (primary and secondary K12) through game design and computational thinking as an approach and instrument for fostering creative problem solving and transcultural practices in Malaysia. Art and Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century. The CreativeCulture project is aligned with the inclusion of Arts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education (STEAM), realising the potential of these subjects by enabling true innovation and new thinking through creativity. Art and culture boost creativity and creativity leads to innovation, new thinking and moving beyond existing skills; all together are triggers and needed in the social transformation. We thus need to allow for fun, playful, hands-on, socially and culturally grounded explorations of curricular topics during primary and secondary school to foster contextualised and deeper learning. In this project, creating games as a cooperative activity on the edge of the diverse fields of Art, Design, Culture, Science, and Engineering can be a fertile ground to cultivate these mind-sets and practices, and to provide a place for them to meet and learn how to fruitfully cooperate in a global setting (transcultural and transdisciplinary).

It will be a very busy but exciting 2017 with these two projects added to our portfolio of work for the next 2 years. GameChangers has come a long way and we will work hard and play hard – injecting serious fun into research, development and practice of playful and gameful learning in the UK and internationally.

Remixing play into a gameplan

There is a potential for existing and ordinary gameplay to be repurposed into ways for looking at strategy in a fun way. This has inspired me to come up with a process prototype for unpicking gameplay mechanics and use them to inspire strategy design.



The process starts with needs analysis to help us understand the problems and challenges we wish to address.


The next step is to identify existing games that we are familiar with and it can be as basic as a game of ‘Hide and Seek’ (yes I revealed that this was one of my favourite games in my TEDx talk early this year!! :P). Is it possible to be inspired by the mechanics of ‘Hide and Seek’ to inform creative strategy? Within this step, the mechanics and dynamics of the game can be explored and player strategies can be brain(game)stormed.


slide-3Strategy-Mechanics mapping can be carried out in the following step, where the gameplay mechanics and strategies can be mapped againts possible solutions for addressing the needs (problems, challenges).



Once they have been tested and justified iteratively, the next step is to design, articulate and test a gameplan based on the mapping.



slide-4If this is carried out as a workshop involving more than 1 team, the final stage is to pitch the gameplan so that the different strategies can be consolidated.

The aim of this process is to help team members to look beyond traditional means for designing solutions to a problem or challenge. By reflecting on the experience of gameplay, constructing strategies can be more playful. There are commonalities as well as differences when it comes to our own strategy when playing a certain game. Looking at one or more games can help us to deconstruct gameplay and remix the mechanics into strategies for solving real problems.

#GWC16, #Play, Human-driven #Gamification and #BeaconingEU

I really enjoyed the recent Gamification World Congress in Madrid (GWC, 26-27 Oct 2016). It was great to see old friends and make new ones!

untitledIt was also great to hear about amazing gamification initiatives that are addressing challenges associated with engagement, education and health. And ‘play’ has been one of the themes throughout the two days. 

It is essential to get back to basic and be holistic about how we use gamification as a design tool, and most importantly gamification is NOT a technology, it is a human behaviour driven methodology. Please see some of my previous posts here, here and here.

Yu Kai’s workshop on the Octalysis Framework at GWC unpicked this view and elaborated on how important it is to be human-driven by looking at 8 core drives that influence the way desired actions are responded to.

The workshop and the main congress have really inspired me and there are so many different views that I can consider towards ensuring that the Beaconing project is developed based on a more evidence driven approache. The project is already based on a holistic approach and at the congress, I spoke about our concept and aspirations for a more hybrid and playful learning experience.

My slidedeck for the GWC :

Beaconing was shortlisted for the Best Education Project award at the congress. We didn’t win but it was an honour to be a finalist as the project is only 11 month old. Well done to Ball State University and well done to the other finalists and winners. 

Here’s to GWC 2017!