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The significance of game-based learning projects in 21st Century

Yama Abdullahi And Sara Hasani Games And Serious Play (2)

Game-based learning (GBL) projects are a recent phenomenon gaining worldwide momentum to address the evolving learning needs of the 21st century. Such projects have become an integral mechanism of change in training and capacity development. Could it be the future of project management training? Leading universities are institutionalising the application of educational and serious games in teaching abstract concepts. Corporations are using games to train their project managers to make effective and realistic decisions. The effectiveness and application of game-based learning projects are undeniably increasing; ranging from arts to science-based subjects.

Can GBL substitute conventional methods?

Game-based learning is not an alternative to conventional teaching or training methods, rather it complements by filling learning gaps. It can create positive change in the behaviours, skills and competencies in interdisciplinary fields within the context of learning objectives in project management. Game-based learning is important for project management and we must think about it’s use for future training. Project professionals can learn about various topics using GBL which will enable them to perform better in the real world of projects.

Research conducted by Richard D. Blunt on the effect of GBL on academic achievement showed that students who had played management-oriented games during their courses performed better in academics compared to students who didn’t play the game.

What is TEGA?

TEGA is an Erasmus funded project designed to transform the traditional lecturer-centred education in a more equalitarian teaching approach. It is a unique experience by Training the Educators to facilitate the teaching and assessment of abstract syllabuses using serious gamification or gameplay.

The higher education professionals will be equipped with innovative game-based teaching methodology to enhance their students’ learning process. This will facilitate acquisition of crucial skills, such as decision-making, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and stakeholder engagement skills. Additionally, it intends to foster students’ equal participation in the class, and in the educational process in general. This project will be executed by four European partners, each with their own unique expertise in serious games in teaching. The project has a 30-month duration expected to be completed by mid 2023. The primary target group will be HEI academics, consultants, training providers, curriculum development authorities, trainers in vocational education and as well as informal educators.

TEGA is a high impact project with durable and sustainable results being adopted as best practices across Europe. This project will not design games but will provide a template for designing different games tailored to the characteristics of each individual classroom. It is the future of project management training.

Who are the stakeholders?

London South Bank University (UK) is coordinating the project in a collaboration with Lusófona University (Portugal), Hellenic Open University (Greece) and Vilnius University (Lithuania). Thirty higher education institutions academics from partner countries will be trained to apply TEGA in their teaching and assessment design in level 4 – 7. At least 1000 educators across Europe have been identified as beneficiaries and will have access to the TEGA programme online as part of the community of practices. The academics will be equipped to design and replicate the game-based syllabus teaching and training ensuring sustainability of the practices post project completion.

Transforming teaching across Europe

The project is aligned with the Europe’s 2030 strategy for sustainability in building capacities and developing innovative and inclusive ways of connecting science to society. The mandate is to support educators, youth workers, educational leaders and support staff. More importantly it will result in building an inclusive higher education system, and promoting and rewarding excellence in teaching and skills development.

These results will be delivered through intellectual outputs, multiplier events and training programmes.which are as follows:

  1. The Best Practices guide on European game-based teaching and assessment with written and visually documented case studies of the existing practice
    The TEGA Methodological Guide, including a fully adaptable toolkit to implement the game-based training sessions
  2. E-learning (TEGA online course) accessible through the online collaborative platform
  3. The TEGA Community of Practice to facilitate the creation of the EU Network of Practitioners of TEGA game-based teaching

The main project dissemination activities are central to the project objectives. Two “Pilot Train-the-Trainer” training courses in Athens and Lisbon will be organised. They add huge value to the development of the main output, TEGA Methodological Guide.

Each main result of TEGA will have roadmaps, agreements and supporting documents detailing how each activity will be sustained. Activities and partnerships will be developed through participative methodologies to ensure stakeholders take stock of the results and continue to use them within their activities. All participating organisations will experience positive impact through delivery of high-quality teaching. The partners will have more capable, self-organised and innovative staffs with improvement in their skills, cultural breadth, European network, professional capabilities and capacity for continuous improvement.

The potential long-term benefits from TEGA are a better skilled workforce, with high quality relevant employability skills, greater cooperation between academics and a more inclusive education across all of Europe. More importantly, it will also ensure higher rate of success in projects as well; game-based learning is the vehicle to improve project practice.

Every project has unique challenges and risks involved, but there are common factors affecting all projects around the world and coordinated, futuristic, joint up training is the way forward. Our duty as project professionals is to think outside the box and evaluate the viable alternatives of delivering the same results without affecting the overall quality.

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