It’s all in the game! Gamification in intercultural work


On July 19, 2017 Dr. George F. Simons, creator of diversophy®, facilitated a workshop at the University of Osnabrück, on gamification in intercultural work, where participants played the Cultural Competence diversophy® game. Here are a few issues discussed:


Value of games in learning process

Educational games engage the entire human brain. This is the main reason why learning by playing is more effective than traditional teaching.

Given the many ways of learning, the average person learns faster and remembers the material longer if it has an emotional impact.

Is important to get players to respond to educational challenges, interact with them, question them. Making players act as a team adds peer pressure in the right way.

An additional benefit of games is that they reduce loss in didactic content by changing the perspective one has about the information under discussion.

Games make learning exciting and memorable by striving to win, entering the “home stretch”. Unpredictability by taking a chance lifts the attention and one escapes the trap of ho-hum as when play disorients both mind and senses, entering another reality.


Gamification in intercultural work.

“Different strokes for different folks.” Cultural values are critical as to: whether, how, when, and how long people will play games. It may be important when introducing games to have people learn about each other’s attitudes and experiences with games. Here are simple instructions for a group going into gaming:

  • Find a partner whose cultural background is different from yours.
  • Tell each other about your favorite game & how it is played.
  • Discuss what you feel are cultural similarities & differences in how you play.
  • Prepare to share what you discovered.

Educational games are even more powerful learning tools if they are interactive, when players engage each other to help find an answer, or when answers are understood differently by other players. The resulting discussions in these cases may turn out to be very productive, encouraging freedom of expression and respect for other players convictions and feelings.


The need to debrief

Is experience the best teacher? No! People learn when they step back and reflect on experience.

Few basic questions may will steer the debriefing process onto the right path and make the learned experience more memorable.

  • How do you feel?
  • What took place?
  • What did you learn?
  • How can you apply it?






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