HOW TO WORK IN PRACTICE
In an experimentative project like this it can be difficult to understand, how the project and partners will be able to carry out such challenging activities and such a challenging mission – and what could possibly come out of such efforts…
This is why the project itself, not only the adults and the coaches, should be gamified.
Gamification of the project is not a rhetoric exercise, it’s for real.
It means that the project should apply one of the most basic principles in classic digital gaming: working your way through levels of increasing complexity and building capacity to solve problems at still higher levels.
When you begin a complex and well-designed digital game, you cannot go directly to level 10. Or if you could, you would not be able to accomplish anything useful.
You need to start from the beginning, at level 1. Not because it is a rule in the game, but simply because you need to build the needed capacity to solve problems at level 2 through what you learn at level 1.
Along the first levels (= activities in the project) you learn to navigate, find your way, take small steps, experiment, get to know the scenarios and create alliances that you will need to accomplish more complex tasks at higher levels.
And even if recent digital games are not organized as levels, the same logic still governs the gameplay.
This means that project partners are collaborators cannot be expected to know how to accomplish the project’s mission: the capacity to accomplish the missions must be build up along the project levels (phases), and in close interaction with the adults and coaches involved in the project.
Capacity building is therefore a keyword in the project.
The project’s overarching mission is to build capacity among hard-to-reach adults.
To do this the project must itself build capacity, as no instructional guide is available.
Unlike traditional academic learning and competence development, based on the mantra: first you know, then you act, capacity building processes in digital
gaming take place as integrated learning: you learn when you need to learn, and when you need to learn – because obstacles make it impossible to progress – you team up with collaborators and create the needed resources.
The adults will therefore not go through long training course prior to taking change action; they will learn what they need to learn through taking change action. The project needs to learn how to best support and facilitate such processes.
This raises the question of how the project and its partners can build up capacity.
The project aims to demonstrate to what extent such gamification processes can create capacity among hard-to-reach-adults that enable them to change their dead-end situation; and to demonstrate how this approach is different from and more useful than other strategies.
The giant steps will be taken in practice along the SECOND YEAR of the project, also called the Second World.
Adults will take action in the community and the project will document its accomplishments.
Taking such action basically means creating new situations in real-life that can help take the adults out of their complicated social and economic situation, through for example:
identifying social or economic needs or shortcomings in the communities
creating new ways to solve such problems, for example what now is called “social innovation”
establishing small enterprises or services, for profit or not
creating or joining associations addressing community needs or shortcomings
exploiting potentials and opportunities in the communities
Such taking action to bring about change is not easy and this is why the adults need to work their way through the different phases of building capacity to do so.
So, in the FIRST YEAR of the project, the First World, the project must build capacity to make this happen. That is the aim of the first year, and this is what partners and collaborators should focus strongly on: how can we empower the project to support groups of adults to take action along the project?
At project level this means that the project should
Create a strong mutual understanding of the project’s mission and work strategies, including their innovative dimensions, in particular among the project’s trainers, coaches or “gamificators”
Offer partners and collaborators small guides on key elements in this capacity building, such as for example how to work with the coaches and how to mobilize the community
Focus on the first steps capacity building in the local communities
Focus on establishing solid and sustainable local groups of hard-to-reach-adults
At local level this means that practice partners should
Create a team in the community and build mutual understanding of the project’s mission in the team
Identify the coaches or trainers to be involved along the project and help them to get in flow and to think creatively
Establish one or two groups of hard-to-reach-adults (minimum 5 and maximum 10 in each group) that wish to work with the project as long and as deeply as possible, involving them as “partners”, not as “adult students”
The project will produce small and user-friendly guides to partners, trainers and local collaborators on the key elements of the first year – 3-4 pages with clear
guidelines and inspiration, at the same time allowing partners to find their own way. The project must keep the guidelines short and clear to make flexible translation possible, whenever needed.
Such guidelines could offer inspiration on:
A one-page dissemination hand-out for translation and community circulation
How to help and support the trainers and gamificators?
How to address and work with the groups of adults in this new way?
How to mobilize community resources?
How to document the work processes?
How to exploit the transnational partnership in the local activities?
How to help the adults take action in the community?
How to build up understanding of and interest in the project mission in the community?
How to overcome obstacles, crisis or serious set-backs along the work processes?
Such H2R Guides could be designed in the same way and constitute a kind of “guide series” that might be used in reviewed form as final outcomes.
HOW TO WORK IN PRACTICE