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What does ‘gamification’ mean in our context?

It is of great importance to create a strong and solid mutual understanding of what gamification means, and does not mean, in the project.
In fact, the project is creating its own meaning of gamification, invited by recent Commission research and recommendations: serious gamification is expected to offer new dimensions to empowerment and social inclusion, far beyond the more spontaneous understanding of gamification and gaming.

The project is missioned to explore those expectations and share the result across Europe. It is not an easy task, but a very challenging one.

At the same time, the project need to be aware of the many threats linked to the use of the word gamification.

The word has become very popular recently, and everybody is now trying to gamify whatever they can think of.

The project needs to distance itself from such entertainment gamification and from a wide range of superficial applications of the word and what the word stands for.

gerry question 150pxWhy does the project use the word gamification, then?

For the following important reasons:

  1. The term gamification brings together and unites a number of innovative approaches to empowerment of adults in complication situations, such as entrepreneurship, life change, community based inclusion and the creation of 21st century mind-sets
  2. The term gamification exploits valuable and sometimes powerful learning and empowerment strategies developed in the field of digital serious games and transfers those approaches to real-life scenarios
  3. The term gamification fosters a special mentality and spirit, never applied in adult education or labour market services, going far beyond the meanings of “education”, “training” and even “empowerment”, such as risk-taking, initiative-taking, creating alliances and working through levels of increasing challenges, but also in general as understanding “life as a game”, albeit a very serious one


Interestingly, most movies for example build on the plot and moral of the need to get back into the game through considerable struggles and efforts, and recovering life strengths after a serious crisis.
This is, in fact, what gamification is about; this time in real-life.
Therefore the meaning of gamification in our context and project is very much linked to such things as:

  • Empowerment
  • Storytelling
  • Directing life change
  • Entrepreneuring
  • Social innovation
  • Initiative-taking and risk-taking
  • Learning from trying out, not from theory
  • Working with the community
  • Assuming responsibility for one’s own success or failure
  • Personal growth and capacity building

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We might conclude that far from being a “technical” term (such as “how to do this or that”), the word gamification is a metaphor for the words listed above, and for the new mind-sets governing this mosaic of words and meaning.

The project is missioned to find out if such in-depths and long-term engagement of adults in complicated and dead-end life and work situations can contribute considerably to a new form of capacity building among those adults.
Therefore the project is definitely not a “normal” project!
Many things must be challenged and many traditional ways of doing things, such as implementing a project, must be changed.
In this way, and in a very serious way, the project itself becomes a game.
Project partners are very welcome to study some papers created along the recently completed Directing Life Change project, on which the project partly builds.
Such papers are:

  • 21st century – the gamification of life
  • DLC – Future of Adult Education
  • DLC – Building capacity
  • DLC – Considering Life Change
  • DLC – Lessons learned


They can, along with a rich forced life change material, be accessed from

Directing Life Change

The Directing Life Change project is followed up by a recently granted project, running in parallel with the Gamification project, called Break down or Break out! – addressing similar challenges as the Gamification project.

The two projects should work closely together and create valuable and substantial synergies!!

The project’s work program is designed to create a strong mutual understanding of gamification along the first 6 months.