Socialization, Mediation and Learning by Doing: the Role of School, Family and (Virtual) Peers In Playing Video Games

Mia Stokmans, Huib Nieuwenhuijsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Despite a turbulent ever-changing digital environment, it appears as if everyone who has access, is capable of using digital information. But, research on the digital divide indicates differences in internet skills. This article focusses on the acquisition of digital competences needed to play video games, the oldest digital application. In our study, we described gaming competences by means of nine categories. We distinguished knowledge, skills and attitudes for instrumental, structural, and strategic competences. We described modes of learning from different perspectives: individual learning approach (practicing), mediation (co-gaming, instructive mediation, and restrictive mediation), and socio-cultural background (age, gender, educational level, and educational level father). On the basis of this framework we stated five hypotheses that were tested by data of an online international questionnaire (N=273) that was conducted among frequent gamers. Results indicate that socioeconomic background and practicing influence instrumental competences. Mediation is most important for strategic and structural competences. However, restrictive mediation only affects instrumental competences negatively. These results suggest that different learning processes are at work for acquiring instrumental, structural, and strategic competences. Further research is needed to generalize these findings to less frequent gamers or other digital domains
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-329
Number of pages28
JournalItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • digital divide
  • digital competences
  • practicing
  • mediation


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