Partner: Andragoški zavod Ljudska univerza Velenje (Slovenia)
Date: December 2017
LUV is one of the 7 partners in the GIRDA project (Gameplay for InspiRing Digital Adoption) under the Erasmus+ programme. The overall problem that project addresses is that of the digital divide and overcoming the barriers to learning and adoption faced by older adults. Access to various resources, social connectedness and emotional well-being are often cited as related to the adoption of digital technology. Playing games should contribute to the study of digital abilities in the first experience with the touch screen. The target group are therefore those with little or no digital skills.
The objectives of the study were to investigate the efficacy of an alternative approach to facilitating digital literacy and digital adoption based on playful learning designed for adults. The study was carried out ‘in situ’ at retirement home in Gornji Grad. The first idea was to organise sessions in multi-generational centre but due to its nature of providing support to all generations most visitor already had experience with touch-screen technology. As the goal was to reach those with little or no prior exposure, the retirement home seemed a better option. In addition participants there were easier to reach and as they lack involvement in technological activities the interest was higher. The study was controlled study investigating the learnability and acceptability of selected games packages. The sessions were videoed, with concurrent observation and retrospective elicitation of experience data from user subjects. The sessions involved pairs of learners playing together with short introduction and motivation from the mentor. There were 30 elders aged between 63 and 96 years involved in the first study. Three had a little experience with digital devices, 27 had zero experience. The group consisted of 14 women and 16 men.
For testing purpose Lenovo Horizon tablet with screen size 27” was used. For participants this was the first time working with device of that type. That alone raised interest and curiosity. They worked together in pairs, two at the time. Some of them knew each other, they were friends, married couples, and some of them have never seen touch screen device before. We were mostly interested in cooperation between them, the independence of playing the games and how much help and guidance was needed from the mentor.
They all played two games, drawing and a puzzle. In each game, the mentor briefly explained how the game works, and then the participants played on their own. Some were more proactive and immediately tried, others needed the encouragement of the mentor through the whole time of the session. They did not want to do anything on their own as they were afraid that they could do something wrong. But in general sessions were interesting to them and they were entertained during the testing time. Time passed quickly to all participants although one session lasted from 45 minutes to one hour.
The findings of the analysis are based on the viewing the recordings of the sessions. We examined participants’ hand movements, as well as the body gestures, cooperation (willingness and non-willingness), verbal expressions (laughter, disinterest, and discouragement).
A detailed analysis shows that most of participants needed encouragement of mentor to start, some required more time than others to respond and engage. The encouragement was less needed in game 2. They strictly followed the guidelines once provided and very few tried something that wasn’t obvious a game can do (change of colour in drawing game). Two asked for a pen. Most participants (20) worked together in cooperation, switching in drawing. When playing second game, some became more independent and less patient. In 6 cases one player took initiative and guided the second player. 6 of them were not interested in cooperation and worked on their own. Most (26) were successful in drawing an object, which shows that once understood what the game was about they connected it to actual drawing which lead to success and 20 learned how to drag and drop a puzzle piece. Most also quickly understood a difference between a drag and a tap. The main errors were a result of accidental double-touch (both hands on screen as holding a paper) or physical barriers (nails too long, weakness in fingers, impairment). Corrections from mentor were followed but errors were repeated. Only a few were not willing to participate (3) or were negative toward the experiment.
In general participants were very interested in cooperation. We experienced no problem in engaging them with a very few exceptions. Mistakes were repeated despite guidelines and same questions were asked over and over again. Fear of breaking was present and eliminated to a certain degree after games were introduced. Encouragement from the mentor was crucial and most likely only a few would actually start without it. Participant also depended on guidelines and only a few would have tried something not mentioned. Most found session entertaining and the time was passed quickly for them. They were glad that they had the opportunity to get to know how the touch screen works, so that they could tell their acquaintances, relatives. Most of them want to participate or play again. We offered them the opportunity to do so because they were willing to participate in this study. The sessions will continue in February, some will be involved in longitudinal study others will participate upon expressing a wish.