Serious Games

E-VITA Storyboards Real-Life Experiences

Milan (IT), May 2010 - The E-VITA project ("European Life Experiences") - co-funded by the Education and Culture DG under the Lifelong Learning Programme - is to develop and test serious games that let younger generations "live" stories experienced and told by older people. This way, the past can be experienced directly and understood while playing a game that once was a real story.

The E-VITA project tests a new approach to the development of serious games. In the project, a methodological framework is being developed for the editing of storyboards for serious games based on narratives. This storytelling approach aims at embedding experience-based knowledge into the games.

In E-VITA, older generations tell stories about their very personal experiences while travelling and working in Europe, and the project uses these stories to promote knowledge transfer from one generation to another, i.e. from seniors to young people. From a research perspective, E-VITA aims at promoting and investigating pedagogy-driven innovation in intergenerational learning concepts.

The serious games developed by E-VITA are based on travelling and working experiences throughout Europe after World War II (in the 1950s), until the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), and the end of the Cold War (early 1990s). Each serious game is being developed according to different travel contexts: business and tourism travel; trips between Western and Eastern Europe; experiences of migrants who had to leave their home country for economic, social, and political reasons to start a new life in another country; and other interesting biographic anecdotes.

The vast majority of these events are very rarely experienced by anyone today who travels among European countries. Therefore, confronting younger Europeans with the experiences of seniors will raise younger generations' awareness of European mobility and identity. By transposing experiences gained in a Europe of borders to games for young people, the project stimulates reflection on the achievements of the European integration process and strengthens European citizenship - which is the ultimate E-VITA pedagogical aim.

In order to develop the games, a variety of real stories from European senior citizens is being collected in a blog environment. The collected stories reflect very individual impressions, experiences, and curiosities about a time when the currently known European mobility was limited or in certain cases even impossible due to the existence of borders, different currencies, different political regimes, and constrained communications.

The project partnership consists of several academic institutions and private companies from Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and the United Kingdom. The partnership involves experts in serious-game design and development, pedagogy in a lifelong-learning approach, knowledge management, and learning in later life.