UNIT 3.2. Case study


GIRDA – Games help to learn basic skills

Purpose or aim

The GIRDA project (Gameplay for Inspiring Digital Adoption) addresses the problem of reluctance amongst many older people to engage with digital technology. The project aims to help both members of the older population who are reluctant or fearful and also those who work with them to do this. It proposed a novel approach to digital education for older citizens. The approach used touch table and touch tablet games to introduce older citizens to digital interaction.


Using large touch screens and tablets provides an innovative environment in which to explore Games as a fun, low-risk activity where learners can develop basic skills and understanding. At the same time those helping them have an effective way of passing on their own expertise (however modest that may be).  Those who help can be professional tutors, those who work with older people, volunteers, friends or simply family members.  Our project aims to provide insights and advice for those people to help them play an effective role in whatever setting they find themselves.

Working with our partners in a transnational project our objectives are:

▪To understand what it is about games that can be useful in developing digital skills of older citizens.

▪To examine how giving support and advice, or simply playing the games with a new learner can provide maximum benefits.

▪To develop advice for those who want to play a role in helping older people through the early stages of learning.  This includes practical advice and online materials such as video to help these mentors, volunteers and trainers.

Benefit to teaching literacies

The approach is to use social games as a gentle introduction to digital practices. This introduction allows a first taste of the digital world and a social environment that is supportive but also informative. Their work has shown that using social games as an introduction has significant benefits both in teaching basic skills and in encouraging greater self-confidence in new users.

The benefits of teaching literacies varies amongst all user profiles but overall promotes inclusion and engagement of adults who might be otherwise marginalized. Using innovative practices such as this project examples will encourage adult learners that adapting and learning new digital literacies will be good for their overall wellbeing and role in society.

Key lessons learned

Using innovative approaches for mentoring and supporting the learners for digital adoption can be useful when reaching age groups that are not fully comfortable with them.

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