The Real Game


What is The Real Game?

The Real Game is a group learning program to engage youth and young adults in career exploration and envisioning positive futures. In facilitator led groups, players travel to the future and imagine their lives and careers in 5-10 years. They make lifestyle choices, budget money and time, and juggle work, home and leisure responsibilities. They return to the present with new visions of the future they want to create. As a result, they become more intentional and purposeful in learning and life choices.

A new Indigenous and Northern Edition of The Real Game has been created for the National Toolkit Portal. New content has been added, including new roles and images, and realities of remote and reserve settings have been included.

How Would the Real Game Help my Students or Clients?

The Real Game helps youth to discover unique personal skills and talents with respect to life/work roles, and interact positively and effectively with others. It helps participants see how experiences, interests and educational opportunities are directly related to future life and work roles, and how furthering knowledge and skills opens doors to new opportunities.  In addition, aspects of the game help youth to explore the following.

The Real Game helps youth to make judicious choices regarding school and other aspects of life, feel more in control of decisions, and move positively and with enthusiasm towards personal futures.

The Real Game has proven effective with diverse groups, such as middle and high school students, alternative education programs, adult education, workforce development programs, after school programs, faith-based organizations, foster care and juvenile justice, and correctional reintegration programs.

Program Logistics

Several components of The Real Game are intended to be played on line, but hardcopies of most of the materials can be downloaded and copied if computer labs or internet connections are problematic.

The facilitator typically leads participants through selected program activities in 1-2 hour sessions over a period of several days. There are 4 Units to the game.  Each Unit has core components and additional recommended material, so the timing for completion can vary a great deal depending on what you want to include.

At times the facilitator will engage the entire group, sometimes with visuals projected on a screen (with a digital projector). He or she will guide participants through individual or group activities using handout materials or have participants login and complete online activities independently. Participants may be assigned activities to complete between sessions using handouts or by logging in from home or elsewhere.

How Does the Real Game Work?

realgameThe Real Game is lead by a trained facilitator. The facilitator creates a class or group, assigns participants to teams, and assigns a role to each participant. The program generates login names and passwords for participants.

The central element of The Real Game is role playing. Each participant plays an adult character in one of a wide cross-section of contemporary work roles crossing most industry sectors in Canada.Roles are generally assigned arbitrarily, but you can choose roles to suit your group or individual clients. Players gain valuable and lasting insights about themselves and life as they play their role and experience situations, challenges and opportunities that occur in real life.

Unit One: Making a Living (4-6 hours)

In these sessions, participants get acquainted with The Real Game-Indigenous & Northern Edition.They learn basic concepts and terminology associated with the program and the world of work.

Participants play the first round of the Spin Game, a competitive game that draws on their team skills and knowledge of the working world. They form neighbourhood groups for subsequent game events and activities.

Then they dream, selecting from a Wish List things they would like as an adult, and leisure activities they hope to pursue. They are assigned work roles and begin to learn about realities of working life like: typical days, monthly incomes, and education and training pathways to the work role they are playing. They reflect on the environmental impact of their lifestyle choices.

Participants begin to create personal Activity Posters, a graphic element of The Real Game -Indigenous and Northern Edition that chronicles their journey through the game. They learn about the work roles and lifestyle choices of their neighbours and build the foundations of an imaginary community.

Unit Two: Quality of Living (6 to 10 hrs)

Players learn about some perks of working life — namely leisure and vacation time. They learn how these relate to work roles, earnings, personal preferences, education and training. They reflect on the environmental impact of their work roles and lifestyle choices.

Players distinguish between activities that must be done and ones they want to do. Many options are presented, and they can create their own. Reality sets in when players complete a monthly budget and compare their dreams with the lifestyle choices their work role will support. They learn the importance of savings and financial planning.

Players plan a group vacation. They select a destination that is within their budgets then research, plan and report on their travels.

Finally, they play the Spin Game again to review and reinforce materials covered in the first two units of the program.

Unit Three: Changes and Choice (5-7 hrs.)

Some of the forces shaping the world of work make their presence felt in these four sessions. Players also learn that climate change is impacting the types of jobs available, as well as people's workplace and lifestyle priorities.

First, participants explore preconceived notions about equity issues (gender role stereotyping, discrimination, disability, poverty) at home and in the workplace. Then they examine how they feel about the occupations to which they have been assigned — and explore other work roles and environments that may be more appealing.

Harsher realities then impose themselves as each group deals with the prospect and implications of job loss when one of its members is "down-sized".

In the next session, without prior warning, the entire group is rendered jobless due to a natural or man-made disaster. Players learn about chance, change, and coping with the unexpected.

Finally, players explore how to capitalize on their transferable skills to create their own businesses, and explore the implications of self-employment.

Unit 4: The Personal Journey (4-8 hrs.)

In this final unit of the program players step out of their roles (characters) and come back from the future into their own personal present. They begin by reflecting on lessons from their role playing. Players then draw on all they have learned about career planning, the world of work, environmental responsibility, and, most importantly, themselves, in exploring an ideal work role.

Then they integrate their future work roles into a complete picture of their lives, reinforcing the idea of career as the sum of personal, family, work, and extracurricular events. Participants expand their learning and link it to the real world by hosting a Career Day. They invite members of the real working world into the classroom for a session of exchanging ideas and experiences.

The What I Know About the World of WorkSurvey is given a second time to identify learning gains during The Real Game. Participants play a final round of the Spin Game and reflect on the importance of training and education to their future success.

The Real Game wraps up with a celebration and presentation of a certificate of completion to each participant.

Available Training For Teachers and Facilitators

Free Internet-based training is available for sites wishing to pilot The Real Game Indigenous and Northern Edition. As well, tutorials are available that overview the program and explain key program components. Registration is not required to access these free tutorials available at Where demand and circumstances warrant, face-to-face training sessions may be arranged for those wishing to pilot The Real Game.

How Does The Real Game Fit into the Toolkit?

The Real Game fits well after youth have had a chance to take part in Prelude, and before they begin Guiding Circles. Prelude allows them to explore their own strengths and to build teamwork skills with the group.  This sets up participation in The Real Game. Guiding Circles is an excellent follow up as it builds on the career exploration aspect of The Real Game and allows them to apply their new knowledge in a personal manner.

Who Developed the Program

The Real Game partnership is led by National LifeWork Centre and Real Game Inc. Development partners included Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (Human Resources Partnership) and the Canada Career Information Partnership network of career consultants in Provincial and Territorial Departments of Education. The Real Game was created through a rare collaboration among educators in every province and territory.


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