Does Age Matter When Building Serious Games?

Throughout history, learning has taken different forms within different generations. Children today are growing up in schools where computers, 3D interactive classrooms, laboratories and simulations of various concepts are commonplace. This is certainly much different than the classroom environments of just a few years ago. However, despite all these changes, people continue to learn in the same way. Learning by doing is still the most universal form of learning and one that is highlighted in any type of online training scenario and serious game.

Learning by doing doesn’t necessarily mean having to actually do the activity, procedure or process in the real world. Simulations and 3D interactive games allow individuals to do an activity virtually rather than in the real world. This takes away all the pressure and stress, cuts down on costs and allows “do overs” at the click of a mouse. No matter what age of learner targeted, this process enhances the learning experience and makes the whole training much more relevant and natural.

3D serious games allow you to practice and repeat as often as necessary from the privacy of the computer. Fully immersed in the game you will experience the activity, decision, process or training as if you were really there. Just as you learn from your positive choices you will also experience learning if you make an incorrect choice. The games can be set up to provide text, audio and visual clues and prompts in the event of an incorrect decision. In addition, the decision or choice that you may will also play out, allowing you to learn what works and what doesn’t work in a very natural and non-threatening way.

Older adults in the workplace and the community are also attracted to learning and playing online serious games. While they may not have the comfort with computers and gaming technology that younger generations do, the simple interface and game format is very easy to comprehend and master. With minimal text and larger graphics, reading and traditional pen and paper exercises aren’t such a strain. Older learners, just like kids, will quickly appreciate being able to practice a new skill or technique in a virtual environment before having to try it out in the field in a real world setting.

Younger online serious game and real time 3D learners may be more likely to demand even higher levels of interaction, mobility and technology in their learning experience. They may want the ability to play online through their smartphones, game consoles and other devices that connect to the Internet. Ensuring that these learners have access to serious games on a variety of technologies is definitely a factor of age, but one that serious game developers are well aware of.

In summary, those that are designing interactive 3D software do have to keep their target audience in mind; however age is less of a factor than may originally be considered. Everyone learns by doing and practicing and virtual reality types of experiences are equally valuable for older learners as well as those that are just entering into the workforce.