DIGITAL EDUCATIONAL GAME FOR OLDER ADULTS: “LIVE WELL, LIVE HEALTHY!”
1 Tele-universite / SAVIE (CANADA)
2 Université du Québec à Montréal (CANADA)
3 Simon Fraser University (CANADA)
4 University of Ottawa (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:The aging population represents a serious challenge for healthcare systems and social insurance in the 21st century. By 2050, one in five people in the world will be 60 years of age or older (Akitunde, 2012). These aging seniors are facing the decline of their physical and cognitive abilities, loss of long-term companions and social support, changes in their familial or professional environment, different lifestyles, and the increased likelihood of developing chronic and disabling diseases. But what are they doing to improve their quality of life? Can educational games help them effectively meet the challenges of aging?
An increasing number of studies have demonstrated that video games can have a positive impact on seniors: digital games can provide physical training for seniors and can overcome their isolation (Rosenberg, Deep, Vahia, Reichst, Plamer & Kerr, 2010; De Schutter, 2011; Diaz-Orueta, Facal, Herman Nap & Ranga, 2012; Astell, 2013). These studies also show that the effects of these games depend on the needs and individual characteristics of seniors and that systems need to be developed that are capable of adapting to the demands of this population. An inappropriate design can act as a barrier to seniors’ use of games, thus reducing the games’ physical, cognitive and social benefits and consequently seniors’ health and quality of life (Whitlock, McLaughlin & Allaire, 2011). It is therefore important to ensure that games offered to seniors have appropriate ergonomics.
Online games aimed at seniors need to address the particular needs and physical limitations of this target group. These are being studied as part of a project funded by an Insight Grant from Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The goal is to examine, through the use of online games designed for seniors, the key factors for effective implementation of digital games for this audience.
More specifically, our study has the following objectives:
1) develop and publicize online educational games for maintaining or adopting healthy lifestyles for retired seniors 55 years and older;
2) test these games with the target audience to check their ergonomic quality (design, user-friendliness and educational readability) and
3) test these games with the target audience in order to assess the effect they have on the adoption of healthy lifestyles.
To identify ergonomic quality, a literature review was conducted as part of a development project to flesh out a number of issues: How can game component design be adapted to accommodate seniors’ physical or intellectual limitations? How should a game interface and its components be displayed on the screen to facilitate game navigation? What restrictions should be considered when selecting computer game equipment to be used by seniors? What are the guidelines for efficient game audio, video and text readability?
This communication first presents the pedagogical and technological adaptations of the online educational game: “Live Well, Live Healthy!” This adaptation of the Bingo game has allowed us to introduce learning content with the objective of improving the quality of life for seniors. Second, the methodology used for the validation of the ergonomics of this educational game with seniors and third, the results of validation and the recommendations from the seniors to improve the ergonomic conditions.
Keywords: Educational Games, Seniors, Ergonomics.