Category: NEWS

Tips on game-based learning with migrants

Tips on game-based learning with migrants

Games are suited to everyone! When adjusting them to migrant groups, language support among other things needs to be highlighted. In CONNEXT we have worked around the topic internationally. This is a compilation of ideas on how to use gamification with migrants collected in a project partner meeting in Karlstad and in the CONNEXT Finland game sessions. Our game missions guide participants around their environment making use of different electronical platforms, but you can do yours in your preferred way!

It is meaningful to plan games keeping these three stages in mind:

  1. before playing
  2. while playing
  3. after playing

Everything starts from you as an instructor or a teacher. Get to know the gaming platform you are using and learn to use it. The best thing is when you know your group and their actual and special needs. Do the needs assessment for your group and start planning the game!

We suggest the following:

1. Before playing

  • Anticipate right day and equipment

It is important that the participants know early enough about the game session particularly if they should be prepared in some way e.g. with a full phone battery or weatherproof clothes. It’s good to keep in mind that people have different perceptions on weather and some may find for example the Nordic snow and cold quite intimidating. Weather conditions can be a big deal when playing outside, so do look at the weather forecast in advance!

  • Explain why

Although game-based learning is becoming increasingly more common, it isn’t a familiar approach to everyone. According to our experiences, some may feel it resembles too much children’s play, which may undermine the dignity of a grown-up. This can be the case particularly with some adults from migrant groups. Whatever the group, it’s important that your group knows why you are playing the game, how does it promote the aims of the group and what do the players gain from playing. You can assess the usefulness of the game also together in the end.

  • Plan groups carefully

If the group is very heterogeneous in view of language or technical skills, it’s good to plan diverse game groups, where participants can support each other in a meaningful way. However, a special attention should be paid to the division of the labour. In some mixed CONNEXT game groups we noticed that the native speakers easily took the lead, while those from the migrant groups took a more passive role. It’s important to discuss in advance that everyone has a valuable role to play and everyone has to be given an opportunity to participate.

  • Keep flexible schedule

Usually everything in a game session lasts longer than you have imagined and planned. Lack of strong common language often means giving instructions takes time. They may need to be repeated a few times. In some cases cultural habits may also affect the starting time: how to make sure that everyone will be there, when the game starts?

Especially if the game session is the first one with the group, give time for people to orientate and ask questions. You also need to give the initial info and instructions for participants and discussions after the game.

2. While playing

  • Use oral and visual instructions

Simple game missions are a good way to start, if you are playing with a heterogeneous group. In order for technical aspects not to discourage the participants nor to hamper the joy of playing, we recommend you to use plain language and to give instructions in stages. For some people listening is easier than reading. In this case recorded instructions probably work the best.

Including pictures with the equivalent word can support the understanding of instructions and simultaneously it promotes language learning. In CONNEXT we have also had good experiences with using instruction videos: if you cannot explain it, show it!

  • Choose suitable answering options

Complicated missions including many elements or long written answers may be a challenge for players who don’t have a strong common language. Therefore, you may wish to start with the simple options: take a picture, add a word, choose the right one among multiple choice options, make a film or say a sentence and record it. We have noticed that recording an answer in a game has been a motivating way to support languet learning even for those, who may be shy to speak in the class.

However, it may be easiest, if there is not too much variation in the beginning. Starting with 2-3 answering option types in the beginning gives the participants an opportunity to feel familiar and safe with them, perhaps the rest can be used next time?

  • Give support and encouragement

All people need support while playing, but the need increases in a heterogeneous group. Think in advance if your group should have instructors joining the game groups. They can guide players and support their motivation with their own example in a fair and enthusiastic way. CONNEXT has noticed that some adult players have benefited from an instructor in their group in particular, as they were concerned and even a little stressed about their level of technical skills. When the instructor joined the group, everyone could better concentrate in the contents and learning.

You may wish to have an extra hand during the game for giving feedback, guidance and support from a distance, even if instructors wouldn’t join the groups themselves. According to the experiences of CONNEXT giving feedback to the players regularly is very motivating and it gives the participants a feeling that you as an instructor are also part of the game.

  • Prepare support material

In order to support your groups, you can prepare a resource pack, which can be carried e.g. in a bag and given to all groups in the beginning of the game. It can consist e.g. of a vocabulary related to the theme of the game. The support bag of Swedish #Work game consisted of a paper with a model discussion. As the participants were expected in the game to approach a stranger on the street and ask them about their career, the participants could rehearse the discussion in advance: how to start the conversation, how to explain what you aim at etc. The paper with a model discussion gave more time for the participants to prepare and increased the likelihood that the encounter is successful.

3. After playing

It’s never just about the game session. Games can be seen as an instrument for example to learn or to become more empowered, inspired, self-aware and determined.

  • Collect feedback

It is important that the players can contribute and give feedback on the game. Feedback can be included in the game as one task. You have a choice to make: are you collecting feedback during the game, right after the game or would you like to have another session afterwards. Depending on the language skills of the participants you can choose e.g. feedback in multiple choice, audio, or video formats.

  • Share and reward

Discuss with the group about the game and its task. Share and show answers given by the groups. If there was points given in the game make sure you also reward the winners and encourage the others as well.

Gamification is all about keeping your own mind open and positive. That is contagious.

 

Text: Tiina Lehto-Lundén & Mai Salmenkangas, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences & Alisa Rämö, Omnia Vocational Upper Secondary School

Picture: Pexels/ Pixabay & Johanna Syrén

Welcome: Virtual Gamified Diamonds Seminar 26.8.

Welcome: Virtual Gamified Diamonds Seminar 26.8.

Are you interested in how gamification supporting learning and empowerment has developed over the past years?  What about how digital youth work has been done in Finland and how does it’s future look like? Welcome to Virtual Gamified Diamonds Seminar to find out more and to have a gamified experience of the best ideas of CONNEXT for inclusion project e.g. on how to apply gamification in the following themes: 

  • working with migrants and refugees
  • gender sensitivity and awareness
  • sports inspired pedagogy
  • study and career counselling

Location: Zoom platform (link will be shared closer to the date with everyone registered)

Target group: Any counsellors, teachers, coaches, other professionals and students, who wish to understand how to use gamification to support learning and empowerment particularly with the youth

Language: Presentations, group discussions and the game platform are in English, but while playing the game you are welcome to use any preferred language

 

PROGRAMME

(Please note that the times are not presented in Finnish time, but GMT+1. In Finland the seminar starts at 9 o’clock.)

8.00               Welcome

8.15               Gamified Education: Theories, Practices and Recent Trends

Researcher Lobna Hassan (University of Tampere/Turku, lobnahassan.com)

In recent years, gamification emerged as one key method to improve learning and engagement. At the beginning, we often understood gamification as introducing game elements, such as points, badges or leaderboards, to the educational process. However, as our knowledge on gamification grew, gamification started to be conceptualized as a much deeper process. Gamification designers often employ psychology theory and research, so as to understand what motivates individuals and build gamification that is able to connect to these motivations in different contexts, for example in the educational contexts. Work has additionally been done to examine personal differences in gamification, in an effort to make sure that gamification is inclusive and facilitates inclusion. This presentation briefly introduces gamification, some of the key theoretical perspectives it is connected to and provides research and practical examples of gamification.

                      Reflections on the presentation in small groups

9.15             Energizing break

9.30             Digital youth work in Finland

Planner Juha Kiviniemi (Verke – Centre of Expertise for Digital Youth Work in Finland)

Finnish digital youth work has been and is widely considered one of the most developed in the world. However, there is still much to do: while the field is highly advanced in terms of using online platforms and interacting with young people on digital platforms, we have our blind spots as well. Especially working in international contexts it is clear how different European member states have their own strengths and how much we have to learn from each other, whether it’s working on social media, tinkering with electronics or producing high quality media content. In this presentation we look at major technological developments and phenomena in the last decade and see how the Finnish youth field reacted to them. We also take a peek at the wider European context now and in the future.

                        Reflections on the presentation in small groups

10.15             Lunch break

10.45             Playing a game: CONNEXT Diamonds

Seminar participants will have an opportunity to become inspired by the gamified approaches and materials developed in CONNEXT in Finland, Flanders and Sweden through playing a game CONNEXT Diamonds. Each participant should have a mobile phone or a tablet with an internet connection.

The CONNEXT Diamonds game has been prepared in collaboration with Loisto Setlementti Girls’ House and Empowering Migrants for Employment EME project.

                        Instructions on the technical game platform

                        Independent playing of CONNEXT Diamonds game

                        Reflection in small groups

                        Wrap-up of the game experience 

12.30             End of the day

 

Registration in this e-form by 19 August. 

For further information on the seminar, please contact: mai.salmenkangas @ metropolia.fi

Exploring educational choices of young men

Exploring educational choices of young men

Boys and young men with immigrant background are, compared to their native peers, at higher risk of dropping out of the educational system and being unavailable to the job market later. This phenomenon is labelled as NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training). In Finland the CONNEXT for Inclusion project is searching for methods and ways to prevent particularly boys and young men to fall out of the education system and have a prosperous professional future instead.

To deliver supporting information on educational choices of boys, I focused in my Bachelor’s thesis on the transition process from lower to upper secondary school within the Finnish system and how choices are influenced by families, e.g. in form of transfer of socioeconomic status.

Additionally, I looked into boys’ experiences of communication between family and school, the support they get from teachers and school curators, their own suggestions on how to improve this support as well as their own experience of participation and disadvantage in society. I interviewed boys and young men from 2 different schools and made use of the Capabilities Approach developed by Martha C. Nussbaum in the analyzing process.

Importance of role models

As professionals in the social field support boys with immigrant background to find their future professional path, it is important to not only provide information on different choices, but also be available as a role model ourselves. It became obvious in my research, that boys benefit from having role models.

Throughout their process of growing up and becoming more independent from the family and parents, role models outside of the family setting gain more importance. They might also be found in organizations providing free-time activities, e.g. sport clubs. A social work practitioner might want to reach out to these players, if it seems to be of benefit for the development of the boy in question.

Certainly, family members play a role, e.g. values are being transferred and influence decision-making. This can be understood as an indication that the socio-economic status of one generation is transmitted to the next. Boys also discuss their educational choices with parents and use these discussions as reflections of their personal interest, motivation and values that lead to a certain decision on a future career.

However, the participants in this research stressed the importance of separating school and family life. Nonetheless, parents can have a motivating effect on the young men. E.g. one can make them proud by getting good grades. The young men see grading as a beneficent tool to estimate their own school performance and react accordingly in case there is a need. They could include their parents into this process. However, they did not express a need to involve their parents in a common forum with school professionals to consider questions that refer to their professional future.

Support networks for youth and families

The interviewees in my research showed high levels of participation. According to the Capabilities Approach they were able to envision their own future and apply practical reasoning skills in order to pursue a professional education (Nussbaum, M., 2011). Nonetheless, they experience disadvantage, e.g. learning Finnish is a challenge for first-generation immigrants.

The situation seems to be easier to tackle, if the experience is shared with other peers. A boy, who is embedded in a Finnish speaking class being the only non-Finnish speaker, most probably learns the language faster, but might have a rougher experience of this task and therefore needs support to deal with this phase, idealistically in form of peers, being in the same situation.

Similar phenomena can be seen in the social surroundings of the family. According to prior research, well functioning communities of minorities have a positive effect on the school performance of the children within the communities (Coles, B. et al, 2002, p.27). As social work professionals we can reach out, support the organization and structuring of these communities and include them into the support system of families. They can also be included into the decision-making process of boys with immigrant background, supporting the boys’ own network of peer support.

For more detailed information please acquaint yourself with my Bachelor’s thesis Participation and Educational Choices: Influence of Family and School on Immigrant Boys.

Text: Moritz Cartheuser, Social Services student, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

Picture: Kat Wilcox/ www.pexels.com

References:

  • Nussbaum, M., 2011. Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Coles, B.,Hutton, S., Bradshaw, J., Craig, G., Godfrey, C. & Johnson, J., 2002. Literature Review of the Costs of Being “Not in Education, Employment or Training” at Age 16-18. Norwich: Queen’s printer.
  • Cartheuser, M. 2020. Participation and Educational Choices: Influence of Family and School on Immigrant Boys. Bachelor’s Thesis, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.
Assessment through Most Significant Change (MSC)

Assessment through Most Significant Change (MSC)

CONNEXT project experiments, how MSC method based on story-telling works as an assessment tool with migrants. As Vanessa, the new assessor of CONNEXT from Artevelde University College, describes there is still a lot to learn.

 

Since autumn 2019 I have been involved in CONNEXT. My interest was tickled from the start. My task in this project is to measure the impact of game-based learning by the methodology of Most Significant Change (MSC).

 

What is it all about?

MSC is a method based on collecting stories. It’s common for people to tell stories and to remember them. And it is a way of detecting unexpected changes.

There is a specific way, how MSC stories are collected and sorted out. To explain it very briefly , stories are collected from different actors that are involved in the project or program, for example participants, staff or frontline workers. Collecting the stories starts from the question ‘What is the most significant change you experienced thanks to this project? And Why?’.

The collected stories are analyzed in steps. First workers choose the most significant stories from their groups. These stories are passed on to the decision makers, e.g. a project board of members, who choose the most significant stories in their view and discuss them with the assessor. This is the starting point for discussion on what the (un)intended impact of the program is. (Davis, & Dart, 2005)

In CONNEXT, using MSC should finally result in a manual inspiring professionals in using game-based learning method in working with migrants.

 

Sounds like a good idea, but…

Already during the first CONNEXT partner meeting in Ghent it became clear that there are some challenges to tackle. Some participants have too little language skills to write a story. Also too short or superficial experience of the theme assessed, in this case gamification, makes it very difficult to produce a story. Several encounters and long-lasting experiences makes assessment easier. It seems that some facilitation in carrying out MSC assessment with migrants is useful. However, collecting stories should be easy and not too time consuming for professionals either.

In the second partner meeting in Karlstad I had the opportunity to get to know partners and the challenges they meet in carrying out MSC. Very fast it became clear that we should use a light version of Most Significant Change and connect it with other tools. As the partners in the project work with different target groups on different topics we are confronted with different challenges such as lack of language skills (oral and writing), different ages and the workload of professionals. So we had to look for an approach that meets these challenges. 

During a partner meeting workshop the professionals brainstormed about techniques that could work for their target group to collect information on the most significant change. They came up with different proposals to inspire others. For example support for assessment could be gained from pictures, emojicons expressing emotions or a larger group, if the whole MSC discussions were carried out in a group.  

The learning process connected with MSC is to be continued. I am already very curious to read the stories.

 

Further reading:

Text: Vanessa Vanhooren, Artevelde University College of Applied Science

Illustration: Johanna Syren, Puntland Society of Finland

Connecting again – in Sweden!

Connecting again – in Sweden!

The second CONNEXT transnational partner meeting took place in Karlstad with 50 participants from Belgium, Finland and Sweden. The aim was to continue learning from each other, share knowledge and experiences as well as get further training on game-based learning.  

Day 1

The first partner meeting day focused on everyone getting to know each other and in the morning Artevelde and Metropolia hosted some fun and energetic getting-to-know-each-other exercises. We found ourselves speed dating, innovating new ways to use pantyhose and building human pyramids.

Sofia, who teaches Swedish for immigrants, introduced #WORK Sweden and talked about the local adaptations made to the game as well as her experiences with the game, and the challenges and possibilities that she sees. We got to meet two of the participants in CONNEXT Sweden who have been part of the #WORK co-creation process.

After lunch it was time for everyone to experience #WORK for themselves and the Swedish Core Trainers hosted a Game Session with 15 missions and 14 teams, and for a couple of hours the center of Karlstad was filled with people competing and talking about work!

The local radio station accompanied one of the teams and made an interview with one of the Swedish Core Trainers (in Swedish).

The local news paper also followed one team and published an article. The feedback and evaluation session after the game showed that people had enjoyed themselves and that they had bonded with their fellow team members.

A fun and intensive first day ended with an informal get-together with a buffet and a beautiful Luciatåg with children singing traditional songs, paving the way to Christmas.

Day 2

The second day had two parallel programs that merged in the late afternoon. The Swedish delegation had a special program for train-the-trainer for the 8 Swedish Core Trainers in combination with training for 13 new Game Masters.

In the meanwhile, the Flemish and Finnish delegations were working on topics related to the learning network in CONNEXT. The aim was to create a common understanding of the learning network, as well as discussing different themes in relation to working with gamification with migrants. The role of gender in game based learning was also addressed. Discussions from these working groups will be documented in a handbook published towards the end of the project. In the late afternoon the sessions merged, and we had a very fruitful session working together on the learning network.

Day 3

The third day was busy with many different topics, workshops and study visits on the agenda. Before lunch we got to listen to good practices in relation to games and we had one workshop on measuring impact, and one workshop on co-creation in games.

After lunch the participants had a choice to visit ESF-projects and other places working with migrants and youngsters. For example in Värmland Tillsammans project we heard about intensified support provided to migrants far away from the labourmarket and different ways of learning Swedish. Followed by project Värmlands Framtid an educational material called 7TJUGO® is still in use providing youngsters meaningful things to learn for 16 weeks. We ended the day with a study visit at Plaza Hotel, which gives on-the-job-training to newcomers as part of Match2job project and made a brief evaluation of the three days together.

Day 4

On the fourth day the transnational project team and steering group had a meeting to, among other things, talk about the project meeting in Karlstad, work on assessment and evaluation, discuss the handbook and dissemination of the project and plan for the next meeting in Helsinki in March 2020.

Text: Marie Andersson, Municipality of Karlstad

Pictures: Griet Van Herck and Mai Salmenkangas

Finnish approach: Many games for many purposes

Finnish approach: Many games for many purposes

The aim of the Finnish CONNEXT has been to inspire many professionals and organisations to develop their own games or single missions, creating a pedagogical movement of game-based learning. All games have had something to do with supporting youth from migrant communities to find their path in the new society.

 

Games throughout the summer

 

It’s quite common to use serious urban games with a strong supervision and a time pressure. YMCA Helsinki wanted to experiment something else. They used a game to motivate and orientate approximately 40 young summer workers to their first summer job and the working environment in YMCA.

“The most interesting thing was,” stated one of the game masters Tiina Lehto-Lundén from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, “that the game wasn’t only a one time thing. The summer workers had a possibility to continue playing the game and carry out missions related to their job independently throughout the summer.”

 

As a conclusion, Tiina said: “This gave a splendid opportunity to both the youngsters and the supervisors to learn and test something new.”

 

 

Gamifying an existing training

 

The Sports Federation of Southern Finland expressed creative thinking when converting an existing training “Järkkää tapahtuma” (Organise an event) into a game. Instead of listening to a lecture, the participants now had the responsibility to solve tasks and come up with solutions to the given problems.

 

The training was first tested by tutors in Omnia vocational school. The students wanting to be tutors and help new students were invited together. They were given a yellow backpack with juggling balls, plastic cones, and a jump rope. Finally they were sent outside to do different gamified tasks.

 

“The tasks reminded me of similar things I did in Montessori kindergarten and up to the 6th grade. I think refreshing my memory with these games will help me in the future with tutor groups and will give me things to do with the new students, they were good icebreaker games,” one of the participants, Lemley said.

 

As a result, the tutors were inspired to arrange an Independence Day event in for the preparatory classes in Omnia, mainly consisting of youngsters from the ethnic communities.

 

 

Explorations in the city 

 

Boy’s House has developed a game called “#stadistartti” (Get started in the capital city), which was first tested among pupils of 13-17 years of age. It consists of various kinds of tasks, such as count the steps next to the Senate Square, search for a 3D printer in the library Oodi, interview by-passers, send a letter to the school and so on.

 

 ”I feel that the game was a good tool in supporting language learning. Reading instructions and carrying out tasks gave an opportunity to the participants to practice their Finnish skills in a versatile way,” stated one of the game masters, Tuulia Simulainen.

 

“To me personally it was a good reminder that also travelling time can be useful for the purposes of learning. You can for example ask game participants about the surrounding city and give an opportunity to the youngsters themselves to find their way to the next place,” she continued.

 

In addition to the above mentioned game contents there are various other games ready or in the making in the Finnish CONNEXT project. They have themes varying from exercises in the nature to gender awareness and wellbeing services to students. The project also warmly welcomes new game ideas and new partners!

 

 

Text: Edited by Mai Salmenkangas (contents compiled from stories written by Tiina Lehto-Lundén, Lemley and Tuulia Simulainen, some already published in Finnish)

 

Pictures: Nadiifo Omer and Tuulia Simulainen

Awsomeness of co-creation

Awsomeness of co-creation

Co-creation is an act of creating something together in order to jointly produce a mutually valued outcome. As part of CONNEXT, in Karlstad we have recently been co-creating together with migrants to develop a Swedish version of the #WORK game. The co-creation process was conducted according to the S_U+G® methodology consisting of three consecutive workshops called ‘Labs’:

  • LearningLab: gain insight into the specific serious theme.
  • GameLab: co-creation of stories and game mechanics.
  • TestLab: play and evaluate the game in development.
A group of people testing #WORK Sweden.
Testing #WORK ™ Sweden!

In May 2019, the CONNEXT partners Bram and Marie from [ew32] came all the way from Flanders to guide us through this process and it was truly a great experience! The Swedish Core trainers did a brilliant job in guiding over 25 migrants in these labs (with good support from [ew32]!). The atmosphere was great with buzzing energy, vivid conversations and many laughs.

With help of the structure of the labs, together with the experience, knowledge and wisdom among the participants, we got a lot of valuable input and ideas to put into the creation process of #WORK ™ Sweden. In the LearningLab we gained new insights to the theme of the game and in the GameLab and TestLab’s we got feedback on how different missions work, the level of difficulty, practical issues, ideas on how to make the missions work better, topics that were missing and topics that were the most valuable.

Selfie of the game participants. Three ladies and a man smiling.
Every game session starts with taking selfies!

We also got feedback showing us that empowerment through game-based learning is indeed possible! Although we were “only” in a co-creation process, the participants told us stories about the experience that almost put tears in our eyes. Statements like “doing it this way, I am never going to forget what I learned today, “this is the first time that I have spoken to Swedish people that I don’t know” and “now I’m no longer afraid to approach people I don’t know” really moved us. The missions that the participants appreciated the most were missions involving interactions with “strangers”. This made us realise that the S_U+G® methodology could help migrants overcoming thresholds when it comes to interacting with other people.

Co-creation is becoming more and more common as many companies and organizations have discovered the benefits of involving their customers, clients and consumers in developing ideas, products and services. We can now see why. Thanks to the feedback from the participants in the Labs, we have been able to make a lot of adjustments and improvements to #WORK ™ and are now proud to declare that we are #WORK ™-Sweden-good-to-go!

 

Psst! Check out Design kit tools, which can be used to support co-creation and other project activities.

 

 

Text: Marie Andersson, Municipality of Karlstad

Pictures: Marie Andersson, Maria Svärdsén and participants in the labs of CONNEXT Sweden

 

Motivation is the key!

Motivation is the key!

The aim of CONNEXT is to empower migrants and refugees to be part of our societies and believe in their own future. Self-determination theory (SDT) –  a theory on motivation –  serves as the basis for all CONNEXT actions: we should support autonomous motivation and game-based learning seems to be a fabulous tool to get there!

While writing the project application, designing learning labs for a CONNEXT training or playing games, the self-determination theory has served as a framework. According to SDT (Ryan & Deci, 2000) different kinds of motivation exists. When there is controlled motivation, a person feels HE HAS to do it, he feels obligated and there is pressure in order for him to get things done. On the otherhand, autonomous motivation means that a person WANTS to do it. Research has showed that autonomous motivation has more qualitative outcomes and is accompanied by more sustainable behavioral changes.

The self-determination theory argues that the quality of motivation is more important than the quantity of motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Thus, the type of motivation is more important than the amount of it. The SDT defines three types of extrinsic motivation (see 1-3 in Figure 1). For example a person can be very motivated by extrinsic rewards such as money or bonuses (see 1 in Figure 1), but that is rather a less effective type of motivation. Not surprisingly, autonomous motivation (including both intrinsic and identified regulation) is most beneficial because people are motivated in their actions because of their own will. They feel psychological freedom and there well-being has shown to be better.  This is in contrary of controlled motivation, where people are obligated and feel pressure (external or internal) to do things.

Figure 1. Different types of motivation; adapted from Ryan & Deci (2000).
Figure 1. Different types of motivation; adapted from Ryan & Deci (2000).

In order to encourage the most qualitative type of motivation (namely autonomous motivation), we need to stimulate three psychological basic needs. These three needs are explained by Richard Ryan (animation by Laura Kriegel) in this short video. They are also visualized in the Figure 2 below.

Figure 2: ABC of the selfdetermination theory, inspired by Aelterman, De Muynck, Haerens & Vande Broek (2017)
Figure 2: ABC of the selfdetermination theory, inspired by Aelterman, De Muynck, Haerens & Vande Broek (2017)

In CONNEXT the aim is to support these psychological needs in a balanced way. It is done by allowing participants to define their role and actions in a game-based learning context themselves. The participants are giving a lot of choices while playing and become owner of their own game process.  They have choice in defining the group roles of each group member, they can choose the order of missions the encounter in the game, their voice is being heard and many more game elements stimulate their autonomy. Additionally it is important to carry out games together. The small group provides support and serves as an opportunity to feel connected to others and so belongingness is stimulated. Commonly, game-based learning in CONNEXT also challenge participants to become and feel competent in new tasks by expecting different challenging tasks to be carried out. In order to win a game they need to make an effort and they are challenged and perhaps even exceed themselves. This is often rewarding for all, because even if not winning, playing a game is useful and fun at the same time!

 

Text: Liese Missinne, Artevelde University College Ghent

Picture: Unsplash/ Kevin Jarrett

 

For more information:

Heart Mind Online: The ABC of Self-Motivation at https://heartmindonline.org/resources/the-abcs-of-self-motivation

 

References:

Aelterman, N., De Muynck, G. J., Haerens, L., Vande Broek, G., & Vansteenkiste, M. (2017). Motiverend coachen in de sport. Acco; Leuven.

Deci, E.L. (1975). Intrinsic motivation. New York. NY: Plenum Press.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The” what” and” why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological inquiry11(4), 227-268.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary educational psychology25(1), 54-67.

Vansteenkiste, M., Soenens, B., Sierens, E. & Lens, W. (2005). Hoe kunnen we leren en presteren bevorderen? Een autonomie-ondersteunend versus controlerend schoolklimaat, Caleidoscoop, 17, 18-25.

“Dear diary…” Reflections from Ghent by Swedish delegation

“Dear diary…” Reflections from Ghent by Swedish delegation

S_U+G Serious Urban Game® – challenge + location = mission

by Sofia Gustavsson

In March 2019 the Swedish project team from Karlstad travelled Ghent in Belgium to participate in training on how gamification as a pedagogical methodology can promote learning, motivation and integration. Eight professionals from Karlstad became game masters of the S_U+G Serious Urban Game® #WORK ™. It was the start of the transnational learning network that will be developed in the project.

During four intensive days didactics, target groups, participation and horizontal perspectives were discussed. Theory was mixed with practical exercises and we as participants got to experience and learn about the SUG-platform by playing a game and completing different missions. The energy level increased as the participants completed the missions and we learned about how our different personalities could be strengths in different missions as well as competitive driving forces. How can we as professionals create a learning environment that offers both the swiftness and competitive elements as well as creating opportunities for reflection and deeper knowledge?

Apart from training on the SUG-platform where we also got to create our own missions, we played the S_U+G® Business Angels which is about entrepreneurship. It was very positive to learn that all the S_U+G Serious Urban Game® are developed in a co-creative process between professionals and the target groups. A lot of thoughts and ideas came up on how we could create our own games together with our target groups. The work with developing the S_U+G® methodology will continue through the learning network.

During the last day we got an insight to the Flemish part of the project. Staff from Artevelde University College Gent described how they will evaluate the project based on the Most Significant Change (MSC) method. MSC will be used both on national and transnational level.

As an addition to the training, workshops and lectures we were also given the opportunity to participate in a variety of study visits – all with the incredibly beautiful skyline of Ghent!

As part of the training and the transnational learning network we will create a new S_U+G Serious Urban Game® together. The game will be about creating trust in society. To feel trust in society is essential to participation in a democratic society. Our target is neither modest or impossible and the journey towards our goal started in Ghent!

Sofia Gustavsson is a teacher in Swedish for immigrants at the adult education division in the municipality of Karlstad, core trainer in CONNEXT for inclusion.

Reflections by Swedish steering group members

Four out of five members of the Swedish steering group had the opportunity to come to Ghent for two days. They got an introduction to S_U+G Serious Urban Game®, participated in study visits, listened to different local experts on labour market integration and participated in world café discussions. Here are their reflections.

Gunilla Gröndahl Ohlsson

First, I want to say that it was a wonderful trip. We had a lot of fun and it was very useful to get to know each other and the work we at home do in different departments in the municipality. Belgium and Ghent offered some nice experiences. The whole trip from beginning to end was very well prepared and organised both from the Swedish side and the Belgian side.

The first thing that I realised when I arrived was that we were expected and welcomed and got a nice framing presentation and a description of S_U+G Serious Urban Game®. The staff from [ew32] exuded strength, dedication and faith in their model. This transferred to us and we became carriers of the same dedication. The fact that [ew32] will be very involved in the local adaptations of their games is very positive as it shows protection of their model which is very important as you develop new methods and ask yourself “are we doing what we are supposed to do?”.

I found several of the S_U+G Serious Urban Game®’s interesting and I think they could be useful in our Swedish context, one of them being MindFits ™, a game abour mental health. The time frame for playing the games, 3 hours devided into 30 minutes for preparing, 2 hours for plaing the game and 30 minutes for debriefing might need to be adjusted for our target groups in Karlstad, we will have to think about how we can make the best adjustments to fit our local contexct.

Another thing I realised was how tight the connections between the Swedish participants were and how they expressed their job satisfaction and happiness at work. It is a very nice group that seem to have found each other and that are eager and excited to bring S_U+G Serious Urban Game® to Sweden. New collaborations among professionals working with the target groups have been established.

The days in Ghent were well organised with fun and interesting study visits where I could see both similarities and differences between the Belgian and Swedish ways of working. The learning ateliers were very interesting, and I realised that the issues concerning the target groups in our two countries are very similar. One difference is that the participants could stay in the ateliers for many many years which would not be possible in Karlstad. There didn’t seem to be any work or treatment addressing the social or psychological issues which might obstruct the rehabilitation process.

It was a journey that gave me concrete knowledge about S_U+G Serious Urban Game® as well as different labour market integration activities. It will be fun to host the Belgian and Finnish delegations in Karlstad in December. They will probably notice that we are better at gender equality than Belgium!

Gunilla Gröndahl Ohlsson is Manager in Unit for young adults, department of integration, income support and employment, labour market and social service administration, Municipality of Karlstad

Malin Rådman

It was interesting as a steering group member to be able to participate in Ghent for a couple of days. Apart from experiencing Ghent which is a very beautiful city, we got to learn more about Belgian labour market politics, about CONNEXT and about S_U+G Serious Urban Game®.

I got a deeper knowledge about how S_U+G Serious Urban Game® works and what is required in terms of preparations and follow-ups to play the games. It became clear that we will have to work on finding good Game Companions in Karlstad to make it work. An important part of the journey was also to get to know the Swedish project team better and I realised that we are all from different platforms and therefor our possibilities to play S_U+G® with our participants will be different and that we will have to consider how we can arrange the set up differently for different target groups.

An interesting reflection for me was that Sweden has come a lot further when it comes to gender equality. For is it’s natural that women work full time but this was not as natural for our Belgian partners. That this is an issue in other EU-member countries made me realise that we realise that we have a big challenge in Sweden working with immigrants and refugees when it comes to gender equality and women working full time.

I look forward to continuing working with the development of the project and that we get started and can try our and adapt the games to our local context.

Malin Rådman is Manager at  Jobbcenter, department of integration, income support and employment, labour market and social service administration, Municipality of Karlstad

Kristian Roos

The journey to Ghent gave me the opportunity to understand the different challenges and possibilities of the different partner countries and platforms. There were many commonalities but also some things related to different national structures that has led to different solutions for working with integration and inclusion.

We were presented many good examples that can be put in to action in our project platforms and in other administrations in the municipality. The way they were dealing with recycling disposed food was interesting. The ateliers for recycling bicycles and other items were similar to Solareturen in Karlstad.

An unexpected bonus of the journey was the internal cooperation within the Swedish delegation. Both within our own administration but also with the other participating administration. It made us realise the scope of possibilities for cooperation between professionals on different levels in the municipality.

I got a better knowledge about S_U+G Serious Urban Game®, how it has been applied previously and what experiences this has led to. It gave me an insight about the challenges and possibilities we have in relation to our own implementation. I really appreciated the competitiveness of the games which I believe our target groups will do as well.

Kristian Roos is Enhetschef, department of newly arrived refugees, labour market and social service administration, Municipality of Karlstad

Jennie Holmberg

The week in Ghent was very well planned and organized and we had a warm welcome. The training had a high standard with a good variety of exercises. Study visits and workshops also gave us some new perspectives and we’ve seen both similarities and differences between our countries. There is a lot of experience to exchange about how we solve different issues and situations working with our target groups.

For me it has definitely confirmed the feeling I had when we first started developing the project together with our Belgian and Finnish partners, that this is a future way for us to work if we want to engage target groups that don’t feel motivated by our traditional ways of teaching and supporting. There was a variation and joy in the method that engaged us all whilst learning new things.

The Swedish participants that will become core trainers through the project and cooperate with each other are very professional and creative. Both them and us had questions that we needed answers to during these days in our eagerness to get started and try out the method with our target groups. I think that our internal cooperation in Karlstad will strengthen through CONNEXT in many ways and on different levels.

The fact that we had both the steering group and the core trainers in Ghent was very valuable and shows that the project is very well established in our own organisation. This will facilitate a good implementation and sustainability of the project.

I am really looking forward to continuing the work in the project and disseminating it to other municipalities in our county.

Jennie Holmberg is Project coordinator, Värmland Tillsammans, labour market and social service administration in collaboration with the department for adult education, Municipality of Karlstad

Madeleine Bäckström

The fifth steering group member is Madeleine, but she was unfortunately not in Ghent.

Madeleine Bäckström is Principal in Unit for Swedish for Immigrants, adult education division, Municipality of Karlstad

Pictures: Pixabay/ Pexels (cover), CONNEXT project (portraits)

What do we mean by horizontal perspectives?

What do we mean by horizontal perspectives?

All projects funded by European Social Fund need to determine their relationship with horizontal perspectives. To make it more concrete, CONNEXT arranged a world café discussion in the Ghent partner meeting to clarify what could horizontal perspectives mean in view of ethnicity and gender.

First, the importance of cross sectorial training for professionals on horizontal perspectives to make sure that the professionals are not emphasising stereotypes was discussed. We should be careful when talking about cultural differences in general and instead try to identify the core of the topics we want to discuss. Perhaps it’s the gender spectrum and redefining gender roles that we should be talking about instead of cultural differences? How to we work with career counselling? Are we being gender sensitive when we talk about the possibilities for women and men when it comes to different education and jobs?

The group discussed also the importance of always thinking twice before separating groups for different activities. We need to make sure that we don’t create more segregation in our attempts to integrate. Separate groups could initially be beneficial to create trust, getting to know the group and identifying different needs, but the aim should eventually be to work towards integrating different groups.

A good example of working with integration and inclusion is through positive role models and mentors. By creating opportunities for people to meet and to get to know each other beyond gender, age and culture we combat prejudices and create a better understanding for each other’s differences as well as similarities. This also gives people a chance to start building networks that can be very useful when it comes to practicing the language, understanding society, finding jobs etc.

One practical example of how this could work was presented by one of the participants from DUO for a JOB. Their aim is erasing disparities and inequality in access to the labour market for young people with an immigrant background. DUO fully values the experience of our elders, breaks down age barriers, encourages inter-cultural and inter-generational activities through a mentorship programme. Simultaneously it combats stereotypes such as ageism and xenophobia, by recreating close social ties based on understanding and solidarity.

The use of ambassadors is another good example that could inspire and motivate people, as well as strengthening the ambassadors themselves.

 

Text: Marie Andersson, Karlstad municipality, Sweden

Picture: World Café Community Foundation/ Avril Orloff