Playing for Real – into a research paper

The Playing for Real project ended September 2016 and it has produced guidelines for how gamification can inspire social change. The practice partners have since adopted and adapted the approach into their engagement with the local unemployed. See also my reflections here.

I have been planning to write a research paper to share some of the reflections and qualitative insights on the pilot that was carried out in Barcelona 2016. The paper is nearly completed and will be submitted to the Journal of Games and Culture.

Playing for Real: Piloting gamification in the community of unemployed adults towards fostering new mind-sets and practices


This paper explores the potential of gamification for informing the design of a community-driven programme based on the Playing for Real project, which aims at nurturing positive attitudes and behaviours amongst unemployed adults. The levelling up programme co-designed with social actors within the project is described and the lessons learnt and reflections on the approach and outcomes of the project are also included to inform best practices, further improvements and future potential of the approach for further work and applications in other domains.

Keywords: Unemployment, capacity building, gamification, play, game-based learning

The paper will unpick the programme that was developed and pilot, and concluded with some recommendations of how they can be adopted and adapted. Qualitative feedback from the social actors are also documented to provide insights on the impact of the approach.

The project has explored and exploited the crossings between ‘play’, ‘games’ and ‘gamification’ in order to provide a more elastic approach for fostering gamified capacity building that is focusing on individuals’ potential to drive social change within their own situations and potentially impacting their local community. It is not about providing the solutions to their situations, but it is to expose them with a new approach for realising different potentials and outcomes they can tap into and produce.

The project has developed a Gamification taxonomy, template and programme that can be reused and repurposed for other application domain (learning, social change, behavioural studies, health etc.). The participatory approach for the co-designing of the programme exploited the power of community-driven development and practice.

Watch this space.

#PlayingForReal #gamification in practice

The Playing For Real project has been a challenging yet special, an initiative that is experimenting gamification for social good (non-digitally) to engage unemployed adults. Please refer to previous posts on the project: Reflection 1Reflection 2 and Reflection 3.

Reflection 3 briefly describes the Gamification levels and missions, which were piloted in Barcelona and is now adopted and adapted by the practice partners.

Disclaimer: The Playing For Real website is still being updated to host the findings, case studies, visual medias, testimonies, etc. So keep it bookmarked.

A few videos of the Playing for Real Gamification programme implemented in the community are shown below. There will be more visual medias to be included on the final version of the Playing For Real online hub (to also include case studies, testimonies, etc.).




I will share some of the reflections on the Gamification framework from the Gamification knowledge partners (us from Coventry and CookieBox from Barcelona) in my next post. The project has really provided some insights on how to be holistic and participatory in the gamification approach- not to be technology-driven but to be more human-driven. I have also written about a holistic approach and a transdisciplinary methodology that we are using in most of our projects at Coventry.

Learn more about the project by looking at Sarah’s story (the social worker/trainer) below (click on the image):

0 - Intro