GWB (Games Without Barriers) project aimed at developing, within the initial VET on tourism, new training contents on accessible tourism and at experimenting innovative game-based approaches and digital tools for their delivery.
In Europe, the percentage of tourism operators that can benefit from the accessible tourism is still low, also linked to the lack of staff trained to cater for customers with access needs.
There is therefore a big need for training on this market and for new forms of its implementation, including those based on edutainment which, by applying gaming dynamics in educational settings and using new media, encourage learning, making it more enjoyable, engaging and effective.
Objectives and results
Teamwork and joint planning activities were essential to ensure the achievement of the GWB project goals:
- to reduce the training gap within tourism VET schools about accessible tourism issues, by embedding accessible tourism topics in their curricula;
- to develop and experiment edutainment approaches and tools in training, by integrating game-based and experiential learning in the teaching practices and using new media and digital technologies in a creative and collaborative way;
- to improve the knowledge of accessible tourism by teachers of tourism VET schools and increase their expertise and skills in the use of game-based learning approaches and digital training tools;
- to increase students’ engagement, to boost their participation in training activities and to increase their awareness and sensitivity towards disability and social inclusion of people with specific needs;
- to provide students with new knowledge, skills and competences about accessible tourism;
- to increase the capacity of tourism VET schools to operate at transnational level, share and confront ideas, practices and methods.
Around 15 teachers of three tourism VET schools in Italy, Romania and Spain participated in GWB project activities and 72 students, aged between 14 and 19, attending these three tourism VET schools participated in the experimental training activities during transnational exchanges of groups of pupils.
At the beginning, a joint staff training event was organised to train teachers of the partner schools on accessible tourism issues and on the use of edutainment approaches to training.
Afterwards, a joint planning activity involving all the partners led to the production of training modules on accessible tourism to be included in the tourism VET schools curricula, thus achieving the goal of filling their training gap or increasing their current offer.
The project partners then proceeded, again jointly, to design and implement a Game-based web app and game-like activities that will be used to deliver the training modules on accessible tourism in a way that will stimulate the students’ interest and participation, thus facilitating their learning of accessibility issues.
Moreover, the new modules on tourism for all and educational gaming-based activities were tested with the students: experimental transnational training activities were organized during three short-term student exchanges in order to verify their effectiveness and, if needed, modify and fine-tuning them.
These short-term exchanges of pupils therefore represented for the teachers a further learning opportunity, as they had the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge acquired in the first
part of GWB project and to experiment and evaluate new formats and pedagogical methods for instruction.
Students too, besides being learners, were involved in training: in fact, those participating in the transnational exchanges, were asked, once back in their countries, to report to their colleagues at home what they learned during the exchanges and to replicate, with the teachers’ support, the game-based activities they were involved in. This ensured that the results of their training extended to a wider audience of students, reaching a wider number of beneficiaries.