Earlier this year, during a small stint at UNESCO MGIEP, I got a chance to lead Games for Learning team at the institute. The team only had one full time and one part-time member when I joined.
The first thing that we needed to do was to find more people who would be excited to work in Games for Learning.
Mahima at that moment was working in the Difference Learning team, and I thought she could be a good fit because of her understanding of the target audience. After a few rounds of discussion, she hopped in.
Next was Anurati. She was creating illustrations and comic strips for the Rethinking Learning team at the moment of time. Pedagogy didn’t come naturally to her, but she was quite creative to think outside of the box.
Vignesh joined next. I know him from Imagine Cup days but never got a chance to work with him closely. This felt like a natural fit.
Once the team was set, we started talking. After several rounds of discussions, and extended 4 PM meetings, slowly we began to understand what needed to be done in Games for Learning. Together we created a five-point model that would take every aspect of Games for Learning and amplify it.
The first step was to know what’s happening in the industry. Robin and Akash (the two initial members) curated a list of Games that include some form of learning. This was a comprehensive list that included learning objectives and emotional triggers for each game.
After this, we handpicked a few games to create what we call a Game-Based course.
Our model of creating a game-based course was much different than what the world was doing. We did not only create a list of learning objectives for each game but also curated/created content for each course.
Take, for example, our first Game-Based course on award-winning game Florence. This course doesn’t only tell you what learning can happen through this course but also builds on it. It includes a comprehensive content of more than 40+ hours, that takes you to step by step to each act in the game, allowing you:
- to reflect on things that you witnessed in the game, and
- the actions you took and
- then apply these learning in a real-world scenario by integrating concepts of Identity and Gender Equality.
Over the next few months, these five-membered team created more than 200 hours of content in the following five courses:
- Florence: Perspectives & Patterns - Created by Mahima and Robin, this course explores concepts of identity and gender as you journey through her life and relationships.
- World Rescue: Decision Making towards Sustainability - Created by Robin, this course helps you to make better decisions for the health of the planet.
- Bury Me, My Love: Identity in Crisis - Anurati and Mahima teamed up to create this incredibly powerful course to understand the refugee life and explore concepts such as migration, home, belonging and identity.
- This War of Mine: To be, or not to be - The two boys - Robin and Akash took a AAA game and created a course to cultivate your understanding of terms like ‘violence’ and ‘justice’.
- GRIS: Perception & Interpretation - Vignesh and Anurati took a more significant jump to create this course on Art History to unpack the meaning of art as the reader analyses visual images, symbols, and colours.
All of these courses are now available at MGIEP’s e-learning platform - FramerSpace.
This was a young team. The average age of the group was around 28 years. Many of them came from an unconventional background, but we could this enormous amount of work because we cared for this. We shook all the notions of what could be done and what degree/certificate it requires. Each one of us has made these courses with love and utmost care.
We conducted a series of workshops - CoDesign Workshops - with kids, and they loved these courses. Experts, Students, Designers and other people from all over the world share these courses without any marketing budget. That’s the power of the community. And today I am sharing this with my community here hoping you have a look at these game-based courses and give us a review/feedback.
We have no interest in traditionally selling this. If you take these courses and share your feelings with us - good or bad - each one of us will be more than happy.
Let’s make it viral before it dies the slow death, or someone kills it.
Here are the links again - Florence: Perspectives & Patterns, World Rescue: Decision Making towards Sustainability, Bury Me, My Love: Identity in Crisis, This War of Mine: To be, or not to be and GRIS : Perception & Interpretation.
Here are the LinkedIn profiles of all the creators (in no particular order):
Mahima Bhalla, Robin Sharma, Vignesh Mukund, Anurati Srivastva and Akash Saini.