Periodic Reporting for period 2 - GAP (Gaming for Peace)
Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-02-28
International peace-building and peacekeeping missions respond to complex problems and are critical for building more secure societies for the citizens of Europe and beyond. The personnel deployed on these missions (militaries, police forces, civil organizations) come from diverse organizations and nations; coordination and cooperation between these individuals and organizations, and the local populations, is challenging operationally. While mandated to cooperate together, diversity in organizations, gender and culture (national, ethnicity, sexuality, religion) make mutual understanding, communication and cooperation vital for the mission to be effective, yet difficult to achieve in practice. In particular, security cannot be understood without considering the role of gender, both in terms of the challenge of increasing the currently small number of women deployed as peacekeepers (4% of military, 10% of police and 30% of civilian personnel) in what is a heavily masculine culture in missions. This is particularly important in light of the documented positive impact of women peacekeepers have on achieving the goals of peacekeeping missions, particularly improving the impact on, and role of, local women in achieving these goals, and in sustaining peace. Current training puts few resources into training personnel in these critical soft skills of communication, cooperation, gender awareness and cultural awareness.
Gaming for Peace (GAP) provides an efficient and effective means of developing and delivering a curriculum in those skills. GAP derives a curriculum in 2 steps: first, GAP reviewed the state of the art in Conflict Prevention and Peace Building training and relevant soft skills, and in relevant state of the art in Serious Games, and combined the results of this review with interviews documenting the experiences of 177 military, police and civilian personnel who have been deployed on peacekeeping missions. GAP developed a curriculum in the soft skills of Gender Awareness, Cultural Awareness and Communication. GAP embedded this curriculum, including in-game assessment, in a digital role playing game, which simulates scenarios from peacekeeping missions. GAP also provides pre- and post-play tests and reflection exercises to capture the progress in the curriculum of personnel through playing the role-playing game. GAP developed a library of learning materials, and these and discussion can be completed between the segments of the game. The game can be accessed via the Internet and delivered as part of a ‘blended learning’ package by trainers in a classroom, or used by individual peacekeepers. Consequently, there is no limit on the number of personnel who can be trained. The game can be customized at low cost by different stakeholders/organizations. By using a digital game for delivery of the curriculum, GAP contributes to the creation of a more digitally skilled workforce, and also contributes to the challenge of standardization of assessment in soft skills. It has significant potential for sectoral transfer of a model of curriculum development and assessment of soft skills delivered through a digital role-playing game.
In month 18 to 30, GAP developed the game, ensuring that the design and curriculum were fully integrated. This went hand in hand with an evaluation of not only the process of GAP but also of the game design and curriculum. The game is a 2D visual novel game which takes approximately 2 hours to play through. The player role-plays first a female Finnish military officer, and then a male Portuguese police officer. It is set in a fictional Middle Eastern country. The Consortium developed a curriculum of materials, learning objectives benchmarked against international standards, and a methodology for defining and measuring behaviours for in-game and out-game metrics. The in-game assessment rates each decision or behaviour and the players gets a report on his or her scores after playing. The out-game assessment is a pre-play quiz, and a post play quiz, which provides evidence of the progress the player makes through playing the game. The scores from the post game assessment are given, along with the scores from the in-game assessment, in a Skills Passport, which is aligned to international standards. GAP can be played by individuals, but is optimally delivered in a classroom setting. There is a Trainers Manual which details the delivery and implementation of the curriculum and game, and how to organize the discussion sessions in between the segments of the game. GAP was piloted with the European Security and Defence College in January 2019, and will be available to the ESDC and other public bodies in the EU under the provision of Article 31.5 of the Grant Agreement. Delivery will be through a social enterprise, which is currently being established. There are plans for commercial development also, as there is significant sector transferability of the GAP concept and methods.
By bringing together a consortium comprised of academics, militaries, police forces, and SMEs, GAP demonstrates the innovation capacity of interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral cooperation. It provides an opportunity to reinforce the European Union’s commitment to creating secure societies, and to contribute to the EU’s Digital Agenda, and to the drive to improve EU wide and international harmonization and standardization of hard to measure learning outcomes such as the soft skills in GAP.
The second half of the project developed the digital role-playing game, balancing the design of an immersive game with the instrumentation of the learning objectives in the game. Evaluations demonstrated the learning achieved, and the project produces a skills passport for each individual to document that learning benchmarked against international standards.
The GAP concept, with its ability to show impact for the individual, the organization, and society, is well placed to develop into a social enterprise, and the period following the end of the project is dedicated to that, and to laying the ground for commercial exploitation. Both strategies aim to maximize the development in the different advances in state of the art, in order to create a more secure society.