Holyoake launches a world first in computer gaming for social and emotional learning.

Drumbeat1The popularity of computer games with young people is well known. Research also points to the ability of rhythm to reach emotions not accessed by deliberate thought processes. What happens when these two activities converge?


Enter DRUMBEAT Quest, a world-first concept from Holyoake – a leading alcohol and drug counselling and support services provider. This game facilitates social and emotional learning through gaming and face to face interaction in an engaging manner that facilitates a natural discussion about real life choices and social issues.


DRUMBEAT Quest is the world’s first computer game to employ rhythmic exercises (hand drumming) to assist young people with motor coordination and emotional regulation. The whole game is rhythmic with players aligning their drum beats to the game soundtrack and the game rewarding the player when they are in time. Facilitators can use this theme to discuss the challenges of compromise and adaption in human relationships. The game also includes rhythmic tests that replicate emotional challenges in real life including those that require the player to hold their rhythm steady under pressure or else face defeat; similar to staying calm under pressure.


DRUMBEAT Quest was developed with a Social Innovation Grant from the Government of Western Australia. It derives from Holyoake’s evidence-based, award-winning DRUMBEAT program which is facilitated across Australia and around the world. The game is designed to assist counsellors and educators helping young people aged 8 – 17, by providing a safe way to begin conversations that may otherwise be difficult.

Unlike many other educational games, DRUMBEAT Quest is not simply an education tool. Rather, it takes many of the elements natural to gaming, such as avatar customisation choices, monsters,Drumbeat2 and the concepts of quests and conquest; and utilises them to relate the scenarios back to social and emotional learning. This can allow players, counsellors and educators to grapple with sensitive
issues in a safe environment and better equips young people to make good choices when they encounter similar situations in the real world.


In developing DRUMBEAT Quest, care was taken to ensure that the game encourages interaction and conversation rather than over involvement in the game; further contributing to social isolation. Half of each session is designed to be spent playing the game while the other half involves discussing the choices faced and the implications of those choices. The resource package includes a facilitator’s guide and is available through online licensing and purchasing. Educator packs include conversation starting topics with 15 questions for each of 12 sessions.


Drumbeat3Excitingly, DRUMBEAT Quest also fits within the Australian Curriculum. The game incorporates elements from a number of learning areas including; literacy, numeracy, information and technology capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding and intercultural understanding. Social and emotional learning is a particular focus.


DRUMBEAT Quest can be used with full classes, smaller groups or individuals. The program is flexible and can be delivered in a variety of ways with the length of each session able to be varied from 40 to 60 minutes at the school’s discretion. Similarly, Counsellors have the flexibility of planning sessions for their clients.


The game is available for PC and Mac, while iOS and Android versions will be available soon. Visit www.holyoake.org.au/drumbeatquest to play a FREE 7-day trial limited version of this game.


Holyoake will be facilitating workshops on DRUMBEAT Quest at the four Positive Schools conferences this year.


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