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Gamification for hard-to-reach adults – New horizons for re-engaging and re-mobilizing hard-to-reach adults in long-term unemployment situations

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Title of the project: “Gamification for hard-to-reach adults – New horizons for re-engaging and re-mobilizing hard-to-reach adults in long-term unemployment situations”

Project Website: http://playingforreal.eu

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Project Start Date: 01 September 2014

Project End Date:  31 August 2016

Coordinator: PISTES-SOLIDAIRES, France

Partners:

  • Asociaţia de Studii Socio-Economice, Romania
  • Asociaţia Fantom, Romania
  • UNIVERSITY OF CHESTER, United Kingdom
  • Cookiebox s.l, Spain
  • Fondazione Risorsa Donna, Italy
  • HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO, Finland
  • Aile ve Sosyal Politikalar Ankara Il Müdürlügü, Turkey
  • COVENTRY UNIVERSITY, United Kingdom
  • CAMARA OFICIAL DE COMERCIO E INDUSTRIA DE SABADELL, Spain

Description of the Project

Gamification for hard-to-reach adults will:

1) identify and operationalize powerful digital gaming strategies for entrepreneurial empowerment,

2) build gamification readiness among adult mentors,

3) include groups of hard-to-reach adults in immersive gamification processes and empower the adults to

4) produce experienced based documentation to share among adult educators and mentors across Europe

The European citizens mostly needing lifelong learning are the ones not benefitting and not engaged – and not reachable. These are the clear word of the Commission.

We call them hard-to-reach-adults, as they are not motivated to engage in the learning and training provisions offered by formal and non-formal adult education – for multiple personal, social, economic and psychological reasons.

The hard-to-reach-adults does not constitute a homogeneous group of citizens, however they are characterized by a combination of different forms of dead-end situations and lack of motivation or capacity to change this situations through taking action, learning or engaging in the community.

They are, so to say, hard-to-reach for the overall rather traditional adult education provision, still based on teaching and classroom.

Many efforts have been made to alter this situation and to re-attract groups of such adults into education and learning, however most attempts remain punctual, superficial and unsustained.

The described situation can be called one of the major failures in European lifelong learning.

Thus Europe 2020 calls for dramatically different and innovative approaches to reach these adults. In fact this is the major challenge to adult education today.

Such innovative approaches need to break away from traditional adult education didactics, but also from traditional “empowerment” methodologies, ad these still lack an entrepreneurial taking action mentality.

The basic approach in this project is to change mentality though taking action in the community.

Gamification is one of the most promising emerging approaches to reach and re-mobilize groups of these adults.

The project builds directly on the comprehensive Joint Research Group report from 2013 entitled Digital Games for Empowerment and Inclusion, missioned to support Commission policy in the field of inclusion and empowerment within the Europe 2020 strategies.

Key resources in the partnership worked with the Joint Research Group to form this policy.

The Joint Research Group was headed by Mr. James Stewart who will be invited to be a special advisor in the project.

The overall conclusion of the report is:

The research literature and case studies explored in this report shows that digital games-based approaches provide adaptable, motivating and engaging techniques that can be used to empower individuals and communities in ways that lead to social inclusion.

Digital game-based approaches include gamification. Gamification in an inclusion context means exploiting powerful motivational and entrepreneurial methods in digital gaming to re-mobilize the initiative-taking of demotivated people, to help them change behaviour and to empower themselves through taking action in the community.

This does not include playing computer games, but using the learning strategies of digital gaming to break out of the dead-end situations by acting in real-life.

The project partly builds on concrete experience with hard-to-reach adults in the Directing Life Change project funded by the European Commission, and in particular on the identified short-comings of life change strategies linked to this group of adults.

Lessons learned from this project as well as from the European adult education scene in general tell us that these millions of adults cannot directly be taken to education or to the 21st century labour markets. They need serious re-mobilization processes producing learnability, employability and changeability capacity.

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