A Bullying Prevention E-learning Solution
Bullying occurs in many forms. Abusing, gossiping, physical violence, damaging or taking away possessions, cyber bullying and locking out people are all reckoned to be forms of bullying. People that are involved in bullying are divided in three groups: bullies, victims and bystanders. Children belonging to either of these roles can experience both long and short-term negative effects from the bullying episodes . Ranging from feelings of anger and anxiety to poor physical health and substance abuse.
Many bullying prevention and intervention approaches exist such as the restorative justice approach, peer-led intervention approaches, curriculum approach and whole-school approaches. Although it remains difficult to determine which approach actually works best.
In the 2017 Dutch schools will be mandatory to put together an anti-bullying protocol. They will be assisted by the sector organizations PO-Raad and VO-Raad in the selection of effective programs that fit their specific school context. Besides that a database will be created, with programs that are proven effective, so schools can look up information for themselves. It should be noted that no approved anti-bullying e-learning solutions exist, so this would be a great addition for schools that want to incorporate digital tools in their programs.
This information resulted in the formulation of a design direction: “Creating a cooperative decision based e-learning game that teaches primary school children (age 8-9) desired standards and values with regard to social behavior while providing the teacher with opportunities for opening conversation about bullying.” The aim of this cooperative e-learning game is the improvement of relationships and sense of responsibility between peers in order to prevent bullying.
Most bullying intervention protocols focus on either teaching the victims how to act when they are being bullied or explain to the bullies why their behavior is harmful, assuming it will address their emphatic intellect. The goal of ‘Band of Bullies’ deviates from both these approaches. Instead of addressing the victim or bully, the core idea of this concept is to provide bystanders with strategies on how to act in several bullying situations through the use of an e-learning game. This is an approach largely ignored by other anti-bullying programs. The resulting concept is a highly animated game, with a clear story and goal, and an emphasis on teaching the right strategies for a myriad of recognizable bullying situations.
Robin P. Hollebrand
Schoormans, J.P.L. , Van Dooren, M.M.M.
master thesis, December 2015