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ProsocialLearn - Gamification of Prosocial Learning for Increased Youth Inclusion and Academic Achievement

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ProsocialLearn (ProsocialLearn - Gamification of Prosocial Learning for Increased Youth Inclusion and Academic Achievement)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-06-30

Social exclusion is a key concept in Europe social policy, and both the Europe 2020 strategy and the Digital Agenda for Europe aim to ensure greater social cohesion and employment. Support for disengaged and disadvantaged learners, enhancing their employability and integration into society is a key. This includes helping people with learning disabilities, and young people to be more employable. Children in danger of social exclusion, showing little to no signs of empathy and high levels of aggressive or anti-social behaviours should benefit from digital games tailored to teach prosocial skills that can help them achieve academically, appreciate team work and recognize the value of understanding other people’s needs. However, current digital games targeting the education sector are low quality and fail to capture the imagination of players, significantly reducing their effectiveness. Contrast this to games in the entertainment industry where innovative technologies and delivery models are revolutionising society and culture. It’s clear that traditional game designers know how to produce engaging stories and game content but they are lacking scientifically proven game mechanics that can be used to create serious games for non-leisure contexts in way that delivers beneficial outcomes for players.
The ProsocialLearn project ( is investigating how to create and deliver digital games for children (7-10 years old) within educational systems that support learning of prosocial skills. The approach combines prosocial pedagogies with advanced ICT technologies and cloud delivery models to create attractive and exciting learning opportunities for children based on digital games.
On the other hand, ProsocialLearn aims at establishing a new market for digital games targeting at increasing social inclusion and academic performance. A ground-breaking digital gaming genre will be created that focuses on helping children to acquire prosocial skills necessary for positive relationships, team working, trustworthiness and emotional intelligence. ProsocialLearn will deliver a series of disruptive innovations building on a game development and distribution platform for the production of prosocial games that engages children and stimulates technology transfer from traditional game industry to the education sector. ProsocialLearn will offer games developers scientifically proven prosocial game elements for development digital games.
In-depth the main objectives of the ProsocialLearn project are therefore:
I. The creation of a new ecosystem for student learning and skill acquisition based on Prosocial Gaming that channels creativity, innovation and technologies from the traditional gaming industry to the education sector. The traditional game industry is thriving with ideas and technical solutions that can directly compliment and benefit serious games, however, the financial risk to small game companies must be significantly reduced to incentivise new game productions by offering domain specific expertise, marketing and distribution channels for digital games. The perception that games are for entertainment must be overcome to increase acceptance of their use by teaching professionals in school curricula.
II. The provisioning of a dedicated prosocial game development and distribution platform to distribute prosocial digital games from SME game companies to the education sector. The ProsocialLearn platform aims at supporting developers providing scientifically proven prosocial game elements that can be used to develop games targeting children for Prosocial Learning through an application programming interface (API) that allows them to integrate functions (visual sensing, identification of prosocial signals from in-game actions, personalised adaptation of game elements, player profiles, game mechanics and expressive virtual characters) into digital games, whilst supporting mechanisms for data collection with protection o
The period covered by this management report lasts from the project start on January 1st of 2015 to 30th of June 2016, which spans from M01-M18 according to the project plan. During this reporting period, the activities performed can be structured along the following lines of work:
• Launching the project and setting up the different procedures (quality, reporting, risk management, document/output storage and management, deliverable quality review, etc.), management structure, guidelines and collaborative tools to enable a seamless and fruitful teamwork among the consortium partners, in order to achieve the project objectives and develop the work promised in the DoA according to the schedule. Definition of criteria and the procedures to be followed for inviting the three new game SMEs to join the ProsocialLearn consortium during the third project year. These new partners will develop prosocial games for using and integrating the ProsocialLearn results and methodology into their technologies.
• Implementing a game market analysis activity, drafting the first exploitation strategy and business modelling. It has been analyzed a number of relevant markets in order to draw insights for the development of the ProsocialLearn platform. The consortium has analysed the market structure and competition and considered the potential positioning of the ProsocialLearn platform. The public deliverable D1.1 – Market and Competition Analysis – released in M5 (May 2015) gives a close overview of this activity. On the other hand, the consortium has provided a preliminary overview related to the commercial exploitation strategy to put in the market the results of ProsocialLearn project. This builds on the work carried on in the Market and Competitor Analysis. This activity has took into account both exploitation initiatives that (a) may be carried out by individual partners to commercialise stand-alone products (which are based on Foreground owned by the partner’s themselves), and (b) a joint exploitation strategy that needs to be undertaken by the consortium as a whole (respectively by some subset of the consortium partners).
• Analysis of the User requirements activity for prosocial learning, in particular the requirements for the gamification of prosocial learning. The ProsocialLearn consortium defined a conceptual framework that is derived from multidisciplinary perspectives (pedagogy, psychology, teaching practitioners, and game designers) of prosociality as the basis for understanding the technical and operational requirements for creating games to teach prosocial skills in schools. The conceptual framework provides the theoretical foundation for technical work developing a platform for prosocial gaming and innovation in the delivery of such games to schools. The outcomes of this activity are the deliverable D2.1 – User Requirements
• Outlined of the first and final architectural model for the ProsocialLearn platform. The activity defined the final version of system requirements and architecture for a platform to produce and deliver digital games to teach prosociality to children in educational settings. It provided a formal description of a system and a detailed plan of the system at component level to guide its implementation. The structure of components, their inter-relationships, and the principles and guidelines governing their design and evolution over time are described.
• Development of classification, fusion and modelling components supporting the ProsocialLearn learning analytics pipeline. The learning analytics pipeline transforms student monitoring and observations into actionable insights for teachers. The view is that the player modelling informs everything. This is how the platform sees the players
The project provides outcomes for a wide range of customer segments, from students and children to teachers and parents, to developers, schools and educational organisations and ministries.
ProsocialLearn is described as a gaming platform for the design and development of games requiring high degrees of prosocial skills for the player to succeed.
It is a multi-disciplinary approach paying particular attention to personalizing the game scripts, so that each individual is benefited by the console to the maximum possible extent. In particular, scenarios and rewarding mechanisms have been carefully designed, while connections between realistic game mechanics and levels of engagement have been also considered.
ProsocialLearn offers a new market for digital games aimed at increasing social inclusion and academic performance, as well as a distribution channel to deliver these games to children and teachers in European schools
On the other hand, ProsocialLearn provides a teacher’s space aimed to facilitate the process to integrate the game into the pedagogical process through the elaboration of learning units. ProsocialLearn offers a community of practice space to teachers and professionals of education to engage and support teachers in the use of ProsocialLearn resources.
Figure 1: ProsocialLearn Project Logo