A Gamification Experience in the framework of a social inclusion project

UpGrad_Me 2.0 project aims to improve the employability of migrant youth, newcomers, asylum seekers and refugees at the European Union, through the promotion of labour orientation and career counselling, by using Video Games and gamification methodologies.



What do you mean by Gamification Experience ?


Gamification is a process that has recently risen. An extensive number of enterprises and organisations try to gamify aspects of their operations and tools. A rising interest of its potential and impact is being observed in the field of human resources management, training and education, among others.


The term is used to describe an inventive application of game mechanisms in non-gaming contexts.


In other words, Gamification seeks to motivate desired behaviours by using elements of game design in non-game contexts.


For example, the objective may be utilized to measure experience or skills to generate and enhance their audience’s experience and interest. Gamification in education can be described as a use of game-related tools and playful thinking to encourage people to learn.


Four fundamental features that a considered Gamification experience must have :

  • Defined goals that give players a purpose;

  • Defined rules that represent the boundaries of how achieve the goals;

  • A steady feedback system that guarantees the players that the goals can be reached;

  • The free will of accepting participation in the game.


To recap, Gamification differs from games because it is confined to the identification and use of individuals or a selection of game elements.


While an educational game works towards providing an alternative teaching experience that delivers information and educates the learner by itself, gamification practitioners hope that the game attributes will affect his/her learning-related behaviour.


It considers learners as one of the most important actors in the learning process and develops a wide range of learning paths adapted to their traits and skills, thus allowing a varied learning process, including different ways of creating knowledge. They are given the opportunity to try new identities and roles, be guided to deal with failure as part of the learning process and be motivated to improve their skills.



What are the assets of gamification in career guidance ?


Gamification is not well known in the migrant, refugees and asylum seekers sample, as well as with professionals that work with them. But it is still mainly seen as a positive feature.


In an evolving global workplace, it is increasingly important to explore their careers, to understand the real job market, realize their relevant skills, and be able to create their own career progression paths. In order to do so, they often turn to career counselors asking for training in self-exploration and job search techniques, such as CV writing, employability skills and personal branding. However, this process is confusing for many job seekers and it requires a lot of hard work and determination.


This is where gamification can make a difference.


Imagine a job seeker using a fun and engaging activity while learning to draft a competitive CV or preparing for an interview by playing a game; think of the possibility to participate in a career exploration process by choosing activities according to individual needs and progress while playing online.

Research has shown that the use of gamification is beneficial to engaged learning as it is active, increases motivation and satisfaction, accommodates a variety of learning styles, and provides interactive decision making context.

In addition, gamification has the potential to foster curiosity and problem-solving, especially when working with complex rules and overcoming multiple obstacles. The students’ skill sets are increased, as well as their sense of accomplishment and optimism.




How does it look like in the UpGrad_Me 2.0 project ?


The gamified experience will be divided into two parts:


1. Users will first complete a self-assessment questionnaire to identify the level of their skills and the areas to be improved.


2. Users will go through the 3 levels of the gamified experience, making decisions through the scenarios they will be reading about and proposing solutions. Through the online escape rooms, users will go through scenarios and make decisions after processing the content and completing activities that are matched with the skills and competences.

The different levels will ensure that learners can engage with the tools developed regardless of prior educational history and that a sustainable educational experience for learners is provided allowing them to build their skills by advancing through available levels. A minimum of 2 resources per competence area, per level will be developed. The gamified experience will include a “User backpack” which will be essentially a visual/board that will show the completion of the related activities for each skill/area.


Once the different levels of the Escape Room are completed by the player, an index will be given providing feedback of the skills and competences shown. This index will also specify the professional field that is most suitable for the player, based on the previous research carried out.

This will allow the player to know their strengths and weaknesses, in relation to the skills and competencies evaluated in the gamification experience.





What is an Escape Room ?



An escape room, also known as an escape game, is a game in which a player (or a team of players) discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time.


It’s a fun and innovative entertainment concept. Participants are locked in a theme room and must try to get out.





The premise is relatively simple: players must complete a series of tasks in order to gain passwords, retrieve clues, or gather other information needed to “escape the room”– digitally, physically, or both.


In this activity, a group of people agrees to be locked in a room, and the escapees must find clues and solve puzzles which leads to an escape. The key to digital escape rooms is that the player will need a code to get to the next level. The different levels will ensure that learners can engage with the tools developed regardless of prior educational history and that a sustainable educational experience for learners is provided allowing them to build their skills by advancing through available levels.





CONCLUSION

Used in career guidance, gamification experience is a good method to both facilitate the career exploration and collaborative interaction between young people.

In that case, young MNAR will be more attracted to the alternative of receiving counseling online, via video games, than in a formal environment. That is the innovative part of the UpGrad_Me 2.0 project.

The young MNAR take the lead of their own integration, discovering their skill in a practical way.


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