During the seminar Real-E, Anaïs Rodríguez introduced us a method that she is implementing with NEETs in Pau (France). Through this method, a group of NEETs get together for 5 sessions. During each session, they have to complete one section from a “game” similar to snakes and ladders: Each player has a token, and once at a time rolls the dice and moves the token to the number shown on the dice. Then the facilitator finds a card with the number and propose a task for all the participants. While doing the task, the facilitator will be developing a “portrait” of each participant on the wall, with their qualities and dreams. The aim of the game is to get ready to start a project. This project can be a Short-term EVS or other project connected with education or employment.
This activity contains several elements: a board, dices, tokens, a path that needs to be completed. It is important to know that this activity is not a game, but a “gamified” tool.
And what is gamification?
“Gamification” is the process of adding elements of games in a non-gaming environment. This environment can be education, but also a business or even a social network. Gamification is mainly used to increase the motivation of the participants: you get an instant reward when you do a task, perform an action or reach an objective. Also, you are involved in a kind of story, with a beginning, a flow and an end, so you want to pass to the next level and complete the story. There are secrets that you want to reveal, in this case the cards, so you go on because you want to know what is hidden in the next card or on the next part of the board. You get the feeling of success when you complete a part of the game or when you pass the whole game, as you are able to look back and see all the challenges that you have overcame and all the monsters that you have defeated.
Furthermore, it has a social part: you are not alone in your journey, you have other heroes that can support you or compete with you, and each one can add their own strengths and qualities to the group.
People working with NEETs say that the main problem they encounter is the lack of motivation, dissatisfaction or disengagement. For that reason, gamification can help them to get more excited and motivated about the process of learning and preparing a project or start a new adventure. In the game, there are also activities that allow them to discover more about themselves, their strengths and qualities. In this way, we are not only talking about a motivation from outside, based in game elements, but also in a motivation coming from inside, based on self-awareness and self-confidence.
This is a system already underway that has proven its success. What we did during Real-e training course was to try the method and think about other activities that can be implemented in the game connected to storytelling and the e-portfolio. We are quite proud of the result, but we need to test it with our local groups of NEETs, that will be the next step of the project.