Pedagogica: Toward Cultural Competence through gamification

This Fall, diversophy® is celebrating 25 years of creating and providing gamified approaches to developing cultural competence. It is an appropriate time to thank our colleagues, collaborators, developers, and translators for the service they have provided to each other and to the growth and understanding of countless individuals and groups, the thousands who have learned about culture and encountered each other in playing the now over 70 games in the diversophy® series.

What we find most gratifying is our growing awareness of the power of these games to assist in the development of cultural competence on a variety of levels. In coming posts, I will reflect on the five basic kinds of learning found in the content of the games and the importance and function of each of them in deepening knowledge, awareness, and empathy. These approaches to learning seem timeless.

Our most important discovery, however, has been that the key impact of the games lies not in the content per se, but in the dynamic exchange of experiences, stories, perspectives, and feelings that they generate on the part of the players. Whether we are talking about an organizational team, students in the classroom, migrants and members of their host community, participants continually tell us that the rich facilitated face-to-face engagement with others is their peak experience in playing diversophy®. The safe space created by game-playing encourages people to overcome bias and reluctance to meeting and connecting with each other, understanding their differences and discovering their communalities.

  Where do we go from here? Well, onward! New applications, games and translations are underway, and fresh forms of collaboration are developing with a variety of individuals and organizations as we reach an ever-widening participant base and benefit from their feedback. While a great number of today's diversophy® games address regional cultures, special groups, and skill development, fresh approaches are being developed to speak to further areas of life where we both encounter and build culture together. We are firmly convinced that the future safety of the earth lies in our ability to comprehend and manage the master narratives that both construct and drive our understanding of the worlds living in us and the worlds we live in. This furnishes the purpose and raison d'etre of diversophy®. It is at the root of our commitment to the game's future development–finding ways to ever better serve present and new generations of participants.

Playing the first diversophy® game, 1992



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