This study examined the social gameplay and learning experience of older adults during four weeks of gameplay using a customised educational digital Bingo game with nutrition and health content. The research design (n=50) used a sequential explanatory mixed methods approach to investigate the experience of this group of older players (60 years and above). This method split the study into two phases: the first phase consisted of four weeks of gameplay and quantitative data collection using pre- and post-tests, while the second phase consisted of post-gaming interviews of selected players to collect qualitative data. The results showed significant improvement of players’ game attitude and social connectedness scores from the pre-test to the post-test. Further support from interview data confirmed these increases. The interview data also shed light on the importance of social connectedness, co-playing, older players’ preferences, and knowledge gained from playing this game. These results were consistent with earlier research studies. New findings included the generation of a conceptual framework explaining the connections among the various themes discovered from the older adult players’ game-playing experiences. This framework also explains how a digital game that offers a relevant objective to older adults (in this case, learning about nutrition and health in a good social co-playing setting) can provide them with a good social and learning experience. In addition, the positive gameplay experience provided to this group of players fostered their engagement in the game, their uninterrupted play, and contributions to digital game development based on their experiences.
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Thesis advisor: Kaufman, David
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