Consultancy - Games-based Learning Assessment, Office of Innovation

The consultant is expected to support the evaluation team from INTEGRATED by designing and conducting the qualitative game-based learning and usability research on the impact of the smartphone games “Feed the Monster” and “Antura and the letters”. The research will be carried out in the Zaatari and Azraq Refugee Camps in Jordan. The aim is for the consultant to particularly focus on the more qualitative assessment of the impact of the game design, narrative, mechanics and overall usability on improving literacy and psychosocial wellbeing through a design-based research approach. This is meant to supplement the quantitative analysis conducted by INTEGRATED and inform future iterations of the games.

If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world's leading children's rights organization would like to hear from you.

For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children's survival, protection and development. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

 

Duration: 45 days, estimated start date: 29 May 2017

Duty Station: Remote with travel to Jordan

Level: Individual contract (equivalent to P4)

BACKGROUND

According to recent estimates almost 2.5 million Syrian children are out of school because of conflict. Many have to cope with traumas and high levels of stress, which also affects their learning ability. High availability of smartphones among war-affected Syrian families can be a means for reaching children with engaging and fun learning supplements. This can help facilitate their continued learning and future reintegration into school. 

To ensure that Syrian children have an opportunity to learn to read and continue their lifelong learning process, the Norwegian Government and its partners—All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD), the Norwegian University of Science & Technology, Orange and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies—conducted an international innovation competition called EduApp4Syria to develop an open source smartphone application that can build foundation literacy skills in Arabic and improve psychosocial well-being for Syrian refugee children.

The EduApp4Syria partners, Digital Learning for Development and UNICEF Ventures, are co-funding an impact evaluation intended to assess the impact on Syrian out-of-school children of their use of the winning apps. Specifically, the evaluation must determine: 1. the effects on literacy learning; 2. the transferability of knowledge; and 3. the improvements in psychosocial well-being. The evaluation should also assess the technical, gaming, literacy instruction and the psycho-social aspects of the apps and compare these against commonly accepted measures of quality and evidence-based practice. More information about the impact evaluation framework can be found here. After a competitive process, Integrated Services Indigenous Solutions (INTEGRATED) has been selected to carry out the impact evaluation.

UNICEF's Office of Innovation in New York helps UNICEF's 135+ Country Offices strengthen programs on the ground using innovative approaches and technologies. Innovation at UNICEF means doing things new or different that adds value to achieving results for the most vulnerable children.   This means, concretely, researching and understanding strengths, vulnerabilities and environmental factors for children and their families, and therefore translating ideas, technologies, and partnerships into products, services that bring about better, more equitable results for children.                                                                                                                                       

PURPOSE OF THE APPOINTMENT / MAIN ACTIVITIES

The consultant is expected to support the evaluation team from INTEGRATED by designing and conducting the qualitative game-based learning and usability research on the impact of the smartphone games "Feed the Monster" and "Antura and the letters". The research will be carried out in the Zaatari and Azraq Refugee Camps in Jordan. The aim is for the consultant to particularly focus on the more qualitative assessment of the impact of the game design, narrative, mechanics and overall usability on improving literacy and psychosocial wellbeing through a design-based research approach. This is meant to supplement the quantitative analysis conducted by INTEGRATED and inform future iterations of the games.

The consultant is expected to:

  1. Design methodology relevant for qualitative assessment of the impact of the EduApp4Syria games; including evaluation criteria/measures, data collection procedures and instruments and data analysis methods. This should be as closely coordinated with INTEGRATED quantitative work as possible.
  2. Carry out the implementation of the qualitative research and data collection in partnership with INTEGRATED.
  3. Create a report with insights and recommendations related to future iterations of the games based on the collected data.The methods to be used will be highly participatory and should be informed, developed and tested with children. Amongst others they should include focus group discussions, design research methods and techniques, key-informant interviews, videotaping etc.The main activities and tasks under this consultancy can be grouped as follows:

Phase 1 - Design of methodology 

  • Produce the necessary materials for the research implementation
  • Methodology: research methods, assessment criteria for GBL/usability measures,data collection instruments and tools, sample size, etc.
  • Work with local evaluators to validate the research methodology and instruments and get context specific inputs;
  • Ethical Review and Approval of the Research Protocol. Given the involvement of human subjects, particularly children as primary informants, the full Protocol for the research should be submitted for the ethical review to a designated IRB. Expected time needed for obtaining the approval is up to 30 days.

Phase 2 – Implementation

  • Fieldwork including interviews, focus groups, observation(appropriate with children) workshops
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Data validation
  • Final report and relevant design recommendations for both games

PAYMENT PLAN

  • Staged payment based on deliverables:
    • Deliverable 1 (Draft materials with methodology)
    • Deliverable 2 (Finalized research protocols and instruments)
    • Deliverable 3 (The IRB protocol and clearance documents for ethics clearance)
    • Deliverable 4 (Electronic copies of raw data sets)
    • Deliverable 5 (Approved research report)
  • Consultant will be reimbursed for:
    • Round trip ticket from place of residency to Amman, Jordan in economy class via the most direct and economic route
    • 50% of the applicable UN DSA rate
  • Consultant is responsible for assuming costs and processes for obtaining visas and travel insurance

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATION

  • Advanced degree in education, education technology, design research, anthropology, social science or related disciplines.
  • Minimum of 7 years of relevant work experience in developing and carrying out participatory child focused research, preferably in the development context and around games-based learning.
  • Strong methodological knowledge and skills in qualitative and quantitative design-based research, data collection, data analysis and reporting for development programmes.
  • Basic knowledge on ethics and human subject protection in research.
  • Excellent communication skills, writing and oral presentations to effectively discuss the design and to report findings, focusing on producing useful and accessible findings.
  • Fluency (verbal and written) in English, knowledge of Arabic language would be an asset.Languages
  • Fluency in English. Competence in Arabic strongly preferred.

Applications must include:

  • Cover letter,
  • CV
  • Writing sample of a research paper including methods used to collect data on related topic written by applicant

 

To view our competency framework, please click here

Please indicate your ability, availability and monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above.  Applications submitted without a monthly rate will not be considered.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organisation.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
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  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location:
  • Grade: International Consultant
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Social studies
    • Education and Training
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
  • Closing Date: 2017-05-16