Are serious video games something more than a game? A review on the effectiveness of serious games to facilitate intergenerational learning

Matti Viitala, Ana B. Vivas, Donald Ropes, Antonia Ypsilanti, Tuula Ijäs en Teppo Räisänen
Soort object
Aging diversity in organizations creates potential challenges, particularly for knowledge management, skills update and skills obsolescence. Intergenerational learning (IGL) involves knowledge building, innovation and knowledge transfer between generations within an organization (Ropes 2011). Serious games refer to the use of computer games in raising awareness about educational topics, acquiring new knowledge and skills by enabling learners to engage and participate in situations that would otherwise be impossible to experience (Corti 2006). Although learning with the use of serious games is similar to traditional learning in several cognitive respects, there are noted differences in the learning style and structure of learning using serious games. The success of learning using serious games lies in the actual involvement of a participant playing the game, which in turn, creates increased cognitive links with real-life situations allowing the individual to make relevant associations, to use mnemonic strategies with the facilitation of multi-dimensional educational aids (e.g., visual, auditory). Some of the beneficial aspects of learning with the use of serious games include the elevation of several cognitive skills, which are directly or indirectly implicated in the learning process. Among them are attention and visuo-spatial abilities, memory and motor skills. However, several barriers have been noted that fall into two general categories: a) health issues (e.g., cognitive strain, headaches) and b) psychological issues (e.g., social isolation, emotional disturbances). Since the training conditions are learner-centered and highly determined by the individual, there is increased need for evaluating the learning outcomes using specific success indicators. Examples of games that are designed to facilitate IGL are scarce, while there are no examples of IGL games in most EU countries. The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the current literature of theories on learning through serious games in adults and the elderly with reference to the cognitive mechanisms implicated, benefits and barriers in learning using new technologies in different generations. Secondly, this paper reviews the existence of serious games designed to facilitate IGL in Europe, as well as the characteristics of serious games in raising awareness that could be used to facilitate IGL. In doing so, specific focus is placed on the development of success indicators that determine the effectiveness of serious games on raising awareness on IGL.