T18: Design of Digital Games for Older Adults

Sunday, 28 July 2019, 08:30 – 12:30
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David Kaufman (short bio)

Simon Fraser University, Canada



The objective of this tutorial is to provide new insights and guidance regarding how digital games can support more beneficial and enjoyable gameplay for older adults.


Content and Benefits:

Researchers are becoming increasingly interested in the potential of digital games for helping older adults. Digital games offer enjoyment and can also incorporate serious educational aims and content. They have been used for training and learning purposes to improve seniors’ mental and physical health and their socio-emotional wellbeing. Integrating educational and multiplayer components into games offers seniors an opportunity to learn and socialize through enjoyable activities. The background and rationale for this topic will be discussed, however, the main emphasis of the tutorial will be on digital game design for older adults.


Tutorial Outline:

This tutorial will be highly interactive. Various instructional techniques will be used including mini-lectures, group discussion, and viewing some digital games for older adults.

Topics will include:

  • Background and rationale for older adults digital gameplay
  • Descriptions of types of digital games played by older adults
  • Demonstration of types of digital games played by older adults
  • Factors motivating older adults to play digital games
  • Principles to guide the design of digital games for older adults
  • Practice in creating a concept for a digital game for older adults
  • Resources for further learning

Participants will learn about the benefits, challenges and principles for designing digital games for older adults. Several examples will be presented to illustrate these principles.


Target Audience:

This tutorial is suitable for anyone wishing to learn about digital games for older adults. The methods presented in this tutorial will focus heavily on practical implementation issues to allow participants to transfer their learning directly to their own settings.

Bio Sketch of Presenter:

David M. Kaufman, M. Eng., Ed. D.
David Kaufman has been a faculty member at Concordia, Saint Mary's, Dalhousie and Simon Fraser Universities, in the fields of Engineering, Computer Science, and Education. He has served as Director of Course Design for the BC Open Learning Agency, and Professor and Director of the Medical Education Unit in Dalhousie's Faculty of Medicine. He is the 1998 recipient of Dalhousie University’s Instructional Leadership Award. Dr. Kaufman has presented more than 200 lectures and workshops at universities in North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America. He has published extensively with approximately 120 published articles and three books to his credit, serves as a reviewer for many journals, granting agencies and professional associations, and has received more than $4 million in grants and contracts during his career. From 2001 to 2008, he served as Director, Learning & Instructional Development Centre at Simon Fraser University and currently is a Professor in the Faculty of Education and Associate Member of the Gerontology department and Faculty of Health Sciences.. His current research is investigating digital games and digital storytelling for older adults and intergenerational teams. His team is funded over five years by the Canadian AGE-WELL National Centre of Excellence.