RealLife is an innovative project in which serious gaming and virtual reality are used to improve skills needed in the 21st century and skills needed for employability aiming at those at the edge of society, especially prisoners. Training skills in a safe and virtual reality will help prisoners to function in real life, give them new skills and enhance their sense of initiative.
The objective of the project, is to develop an innovative tool, the Real Life game with a certificate that validates the process of informal learning, that takes place while playing the game. Real Life will design a strong tool for disadvantaged groups by implementing seven pilots in six European countries that will include 80 prisoners, 14 mentors and 35 prison guards. Focus will be on different groups, youngsters between 17 and 23, woman and (older) men.
The ultimate target groups of Real Life are those who lack basic skills and failed in the traditional education system. Within this group the focus is on those who have been, or threaten to become in contact with Justice and criminal law.
Not only digital literacy is low among this group, a lack of skills, necessary for finding a job often leads to an existence in the margins of society. Many of them have bad experiences with regular formal education. The innovative approach of Real Life will offer them opportunities for working on the improvement of basic skills and competences. We will use digital tools like Serious Gaming (SG) and Virtual Reality (VR) as an effective strategy to work on their soft skills and thus improve their chances on employability. Another important target group are the future mentors, people working directly with prisoners or other disadvantaged groups), like educational staff within prison or people from local organizations.
The use of gamification is a user-friendly method that can be delivered on an individual basis to promote employability and reduce recidivism for prisoners. To measure effectiveness of the serious game, the partners will study the rate of recidivism in the first 48 hours to two months after prisoners leave detention.
This way the projectpartners are able to measure the impact of the game almost immediately and improve the game. The game will focus on new learning possibilities to be applied in prisons: digital tools, games that educate, train and inform, can provide an alternative sustainable learning tool for disadvantaged groups. Many among the end-users have learning disabilities and reject more traditional teaching approaches.
With the current possibilities digital media offer, it is realistic to expect that a team of experts, like the partners from Nottingham Trent University, will be able to develop a working serious game in a virtual environment during project Real Life.