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Game Based Learning to Alleviate Early School Leaving
Early school leaving (ESL) and low achievement in basic skills key societal challenges facing educators working in Malta and Europe. Recently, the EU set the target of reducing ESL to 10% across member states by 2020. Figures from 2013, show that the percentage of early school leavers in Malta was 20.9%, one of the highest rates in Europe. Through this Erasmus + Strategic Partnership, these key societal challenges were tackled through the creation of new innovative teaching methodologies using gamification of English and Maths lessons. Digital games and gamification techniques have already been used successfully in schools in Austria, Sweden, the UK and the US.
This Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership kicked off in September 2015 and was concluded in August 2017. During this two-year project, a game based learning scenarios guidebook and an open-source toolkit based on international best practices and games-based learning (GBL) research were made available to educators. These outputs opened up the possibility of making a game-based learning framework for Maltese and international teachers. The toolkit with GBL scenarios was driven by experts, teachers, media-education-research communities and students and can still be used to teach a variety of subjects and age groups.
The partnership included experts GBL from Donau University and the University of Malta Faculty of ICT and Education, who have worked in parallel with a team of Secondary School educators and students from Malta, Austria and Sweden. It was envisaged that the team of Secondary School educators would transform into 'agents of change' within their school districts and would benefit from the project partners' technological and pedagogical expertise that was based on best practice in GBL and engagement of potential early school leavers.
All the partners shared the vision of creating a more dynamic, committed and professional environment inside schools and in academia as a whole.