Contributed By: Ibrahim al Momani – MEPI-funded Holoul 2030 Project Highlight
An exciting field with a fast-growing pool of professionals, the Jordanian Social Impact Sector is just starting to tap into the potential of gamification as a tool to accelerate humanitarian learning and incentivize user engagement. In a joint effort to introduce, localize and contextualize learning around gamification for the Jordanian humanitarian sector, Tech Tribes, in partnership with The Humanitarian Leadership Academy (Academy) and the International Training Center for the ILO (ITCILO), hosted a workshop in Amman titled “Gamification for Humanitarian Learning” from 16-18 June, 2019.
The workshop engaged local CSOs/CBOs/INGOs who have a track record in training development and delivery who were eager to explore new tools that could help them create more engaging content and meet much anticipated learning objectives. It also targeted cause-driven groups who are eager to test new approaches and tools to their calls for action and community mobilization efforts.
Using a blend of the Academy’s gamification training material on Kaya and game-authoring tools, with local case studies and examples by Tech Tribes, the workshop succeeded in introducing participants to a blend of concepts and skills that can better prepare them to design more responsive and user-centered, yet entertaining and engaging learning games. During the workshop, participants got to identify a challenge related to a Jordan-priority SDG; and were led to design and develop learning games responding to it. Participants capitalized on their newly acquired understanding of the cycle of design thinking, as well as the process of designing engaging digital user experiences, to produce games that bolster awareness and action around their selected SDGs. Examples include a game to teach parents the right interventions dealing with their autistic children, gamification of awareness around smoking and public health, supporting quality education thought serious games in primary schools, as well as enhancing ethics education through gamifying the response to ethical dilemmas.
Participant organizations varied from INGOs’ like UNESCO, UN Women, Intersos, Global Communities, Peace Geeks and The Center for Victims of Torture, to academic institutions like The American University of Madaba (AUM). Local NGOs were also present like Jordan River Foundation, Autism Community JO, Martha Education, Raneen Foundation and Injaz. This blend of the global and local enriched the training with different perspectives and proved that gamification techniques can intersect any intervention on any level.
While some participants saw the workshop as a way to increase their own impact and support learning in their organizations, some expressed their plans to take gamification further and incorporate it into program design and delivery. Eman from Injaz expressed her admiration for the new knowledge she gained, she expressed:
“The training was amazing! I have learnt new ways to incentivize my trainees, I can now go back and turn different aspects of my training to games and even gamify my training methods with more confidence”.
Doaa of INTERSOS offered:
“You opened my eyes to how I could turn the daily tasks of my team into a gamified interactive experience. Thank you for guiding my focus towards user-centered design, I can now understand why some interventions fail, they are not built on empathy not take into consideration user-journeys nor behavior”.
Areej from Jordan River Foundation said:
“I head the Social Innovation Program at the Foundation, and I have always been on the look for innovative ways to share learning and keep developing in our training material. I think I have hit the jackpot with this training, and I look forward to the Arabic online course as an outcome of this workshop”.
Some feedback from the Higher Education Sector was also received. Dr. Rand Al-Akasheh offered:
“This has been a saving grace for us university professors, our lectures are brimming with hard theory; we struggle to keep our students engaged”. She added: “I will use the gamification platform to create a game based on my curricula, I also want this workshop to be replicated in AUM with more professors and students.”
Based on this workshop as a pilot, Tech Tribes and the Humanitarian Leadership Academy will be launching the Arabic localized version of “Gamification for Humanitarian Learning” online course on Kaya that will be available to all Arabic-speaking learners.