Meta Quest 3 mixed reality VR glasses.
English Kriittinen tila

Utilizing educational mobile and VR games with older adults

Lukuaika: 5 min.

Digitalization and increased technology in homes create challenges for older adults to survive in everyday situations. Staying involved in a developing and changing society is part of social sustainability. Sustainable pedagogy and educational games lower the threshold for older adults to try new forms of technology and create lifelong learning.


ames and VR technologies have become a part of teaching in both vocational education and education of the older adults. New technologies as part of teaching create motivation for students and increase participation and attachment to teaching. For older adults, it is important to embrace new forms of technology. Digitization brings challenges in everyday life. Banking services, mobile payment, and paying directly with applications cause problematic situations for those unfamiliar with using technology. Keeping older adults involved in the developing and changing society is part of social sustainability.  

Educational games enable lifelong learning

Various games have been used to support teaching since the early days of our education system. With the development of technology, the methods of gamification have evolved from crossword puzzles in books to mobile and computer games that can be played independently or in a group. Games in simulated environments arouse more student interest than traditional classroom teaching. It is easier for students to absorb knowledge-based things with the help of games than with traditional teaching methods.

A public learning space.
Learning through digital games should be inclusive. Picture: Mirkka Forssell

A separate field of research has been formed, edutainment, which indicates as a term that learning is meant to be fun and easy.

Increasing motivation and changing attitudes towards the subject being taught are the reasons why games are used to support teaching. Especially difficult subjects, such as mathematics and languages, can be made easier with the help of games.

A separate field of research has been formed, edutainment, which indicates as a term that learning is meant to be fun and easy. Educational games have been used in community colleges to support teaching in lectures aimed at older adults. The learning results and experiences were positive, which is why games should be used in all age groups to support teaching.

Games lower the threshold of older adults to use their mobile phones

The accessibility of educational mobile games has been studied in older adult groups, and according to the study, games are well suited for use as support for teaching. When planning mobile game sessions for older adults, the appropriate lighting of the classroom and the fact that the tempo of the game is not too fast should be considered. Suitable games for use on mobile devices to support teaching older adults are Kahoot! and Quizziz. Overall, educational games should be used as part of classroom activities with all age groups. According to the study, the experience was novel and positive for all participants.

Participant playing Kahoot! with mobile phone.
Participant playing Kahoot! with mobile phone. Picture: Lenny Forssell

The older adults studied cyber security with the help of a VR game

VR glasses have not been widely used in Finland to support the teaching of older adults. Older adults had the opportunity to get to know and try playing with VR glasses. In the field tests aimed at the older adults of Akaa and Sastamala, an educational game was tested, and an entertaining game with VR glasses was tested in the comparison group. The content of the educational game was related to cyber security and older adults had the opportunity to learn through the game and gain the courage to try new forms of technology. Playing in the virtual world got several older adults excited about a new kind of life-enriching experience. After the test, many people had a question about how much the VR glasses cost and where they could be used independently. Many older adults would like to add, for example, guided VR classes to the selection of libraries for their age groups.

Participant playing VR game at Sammaljoki church.
Participant playing VR game at Sammaljoki church. Picture: Mirkka Forssell

Social responsibility and sustainable pedagogy are part of my research perspective. The research provides information about the attitudes of the older adults towards educational games and which things in the game alleviate possible fears and anxiety. The results of the research can be used in teaching older adults and in the design of accessible electronic and mobile services and VR environments.



Header photo: Mirkka Forssell


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Mirkka Forssell

Mirkka Forssell

The author studies in Humans and Technologies Doctoral Program at the University of Tampere and belongs to the Tampere Accessibility Unit TACCU and SIA LAB research groups. Forssell works as a university teacher and is particularly interested in management, leadership, accessibility, sustainability, XR, human-technology interaction, user experience, and robotics.