No matter how many sweet memories we carry from school years, them being the years of innocence and big dreams for most, it always hits us hard. We still remember all the practices and teaching and learning methods that would torture us, forcing us to memorize the materials by heart, effectively leading us, students, to develop negative emotions and approach towards school and its procedures.
And that of course did not only apply during primary and secondary school, but it continued to the eras of adult education. Universities, colleges, formal or non-formal educational centers, were, and still are of course, the pioneers of education, the ways in which knowledge and expertise is passed on; they would, in most cases, however, hold the tradition of heavy and tiresome teaching methods.
The Message And The Messenger
Once in a while, there would be a seminar, or a presentation, or even a visit to a museum, or an innovative educational center. When that happened, things would roll in a magical pace. Nobody seemed frustrated, quite the opposite actually, even if the whole thing was a part of the educational procedure. Simply put, it was school.
Well, it really could be just one more day at school. The gist though, seems to be that we did not really hate school to its core; what was however, too heavy to carry on our backs, were, as mentioned, the washed-up and tiring methodologies and practices we were put through. That is the reason that, when we were introduced to knowledge by playing, working as teams, having the chance to express ourselves and feelings, or be a part of an interactive environment, our inner researcher was jumping with joy.
In very simple words, in this case the messenger is powerful enough to make us hate the message, with the messenger being the educational means, and the message representing knowledge and education.
The Wonderful Case of S4EG
Education, in all its forms and aspects, is not something to be dumped and left aside, just because certain procedures feel, and are, frustrating. What we ought to do, is find new ways through which, the information offered, and the skills worked upon, have a brand new, shiny vehicle to make an entrance with. So, the knowledge, educational goals, and skills do not really change (well they do as time marches on, but that is a different conversation), it is the means that drastically do.
S4EG was inspired and developed on that concept, the concept that is of redefining educational practices, particularly in adult education of all forms. It does not completely abandon traditional or more modern teaching and learning methods, but it simply introduces the concept of learning and acquiring skills, via games. Now that, sounds like a cool concept. It comes with a similarly cool name; Gamification.
Gamification is simply the concept of receiving knowledge and information, as well as developing skills, and building those already existent, through serious games. S4EG introduces 6 serious games for that cause. Through these games, adult learners will be able to develop skills such as emotional intelligence, self and time management, creativity, communication skills, collaboration and teamwork, and cognitive learning; all of them equally important in the today’s job market. With their turn, educators shall be trained on the gamification methodology, and effectively provide learners with a tailored-made curriculum, which will be much more engaging and interesting than traditional ones, thus more effective.
Through the project, adult educators acquire a brand new educational arsenal, and learners work on skills, adequate for the job market.
Do You Want To Play A Game?
To speak in a more practical manner, the games are in the final stage of development. In order to finalize them there is only a couple of things left to do. The most important is to play them! And that’s exactly what we did. Partners gathered in the beautiful city of Ptuj, Slovenia, between the 27th – 30th of September, in order to test the games. Their structure, the rhythm, their looks, difficulty, all different aspects and elements really, and ultimately, if they achieve the set goals.
All 6 games were presented in detail, and the testing started. We played, we organized in different teams, we put our minds into business, we practiced our creativity skills. And yes, after the feedback was given to each partner for the respective game, we can safely state that the project is in a very good direction.
S4EG is in the final straight, with the games needing some tweaks here and there. The last level however, does not only achieve the development of some games. It focuses on equipping educational procedures with tools that will engage adult learners and provide them with much needed skills, for their future.