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

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ProsocialLearn (ProsocialLearn - Gamification of Prosocial Learning for Increased Youth Inclusion and Academic Achievement)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2018-02-28

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. This includes helping young people to be more employable through the acquisition of prosocial skills from early stages in their education.
ProsocialLearn allows children to benefit from digital games tailored to teach prosocial skills that can help them achieve academically, appreciate team work and recognise the value of understanding other people’s needs. By doing so, ProsocialLearn increases social inclusion and individual empowerment. ProsocialLearn has reached its primary objective through the following three pillars:
- The gamification of prosocial learning driven by a set of prosocial learning objectives that are designed for the development of specific prosocial skills. This pillar has resulted on the development of a set of prosocial fully-integrated games into ProsocialLearn Platform.
- The creation of an ecosystem for prosocial games that allows gaming providers and educators to access a new market place for such games that offers advanced tools for the production and distribution of prosocial games to educational markets allowing learning providers acquire and personalize the games according their learning needs.
- The spread of the prosociallearn concept in the educational community centered on innovative teachers eager to adopt prosociality in daily school practice thanks to the ProsocialLearn Community Teachers Space.
ProsocialLearn has delivered 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. ProsocialLearn reduces the risks for small gaming companies by offering domain specific expertise, marketing and distribution channels for prosociallearn digital games. The ProsocialLearn platform supports 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 of personal information. ProsocialLearn has also delivered a framework in ProsocialLearn Market Place where educators and students can access to prosocial games and integrated them in their dairy routine. Games included in ProsocialLearn Market Place support personalisation and delivery of learning content by dynamically adapting and optimising game play situations and interactions for each individual player considering both persistent characteristics, and real-time emotional and cognitive state. Student outcomes can be monitored and they provide the basis for evaluating teacher, student, and game effectiveness.
During this reporting period (M19-M38), the following lines of work have been developed:
- Development, update and integration of multimodality approach and user profiles.
- Development of a collection of game mechanics. The final version of the Prosocial Adaptation Manager (PAM) component was delivered.
- Design game interface to support Natural Game Interaction using gesture.
- Creation and improvement of virtual character controllers: the component supports a large variety of scenarios surrounding prosocial activities and a large variety of character appearances.
- Involvement of new three SMEs in the project-
- Design and development of the Prosocial Games: Tower Together, Pushy Paddles, The Secret Word, The Chase, Laika, Lost in Space, Seasons Soup, Path of Trust and Emotions with Friends.
- Integration of all components and final release of the platform
- Piloting of the solution: Two pilot models were run: the first model involved 8 week design studies that took place in the UK, Greece and Italy; the second model consisted of outer-tier pilots that took place in Spain.
- Exploitation of the results through the sign of an Exploitation agreement.
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 reward 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.

The consortium agreed and signed an exploitation agreement which set the basis for further exploitation. This agreement has been a catalyst for joint initiatives among members of the consortium.

The results of ProsocialLearn have established a novel scenario for the cooperation and common development of multidisciplinary serious games putting a central focus in social and psychologist aspects bring together practitioners from education, psychology, pedagogy, game developers and service providers. Thanks to the ProsocialLearn outcomes game developers have access to methodology and tools to effectively develop prosocial games.

The results of the project has empowered game industries, both within and beyond the project, to benefit from new business models offering innovative and tested games to the educational sector leading the opening of new and disruptive markets for creative and innovative SMEs. The traditional poorness of serious games in terms of quality, budget and technologies has been overcome thanks to the ProsocialLearn tools and services. Thanks to the contribution of ProsocialLearn to transform the serious games sector new markets are now available and ready for incorporating prosocial games in its daily activities. ProsocialLearn project has carried out an intense activity in education communities to spread the ProsocialLearn concept and outcomes through the ProsocialLearn Teachers Community Space.
Figure 1: ProsocialLearn Project Logo