IAMSE Winter 2023 Session 4 Highlights

[The following notes were generated by Thomas Thesen, Ph.D.]

Presenter: Sarah Edwards, BMBS FHEA MSc(MedEd) MSc(PEM) (University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Trust, UK) and Michael Cosimini, MD FAAP (Oregon Health and Science University, USA)

Card and Board Games for Health Professionals Education

The Winter 2023 IAMSE Webinar Seminar Series, titled “Not Just Fun & Games: Game-based Learning in Health Professions Education,” had its fourth session on Thursday, January 26. This series explores the benefits of using games in healthcare education and offers strategies for incorporating different types of games into the basic science curriculum. It covers existing literature on the theories behind using games in medical education and the results of recent research studies on the topic. The series also features speakers who will provide practical tips for implementing game-based learning in the classroom. The third session was presented by Dr. Sarah Edwards and Dr. Michael Cosimini and was titled “Card and board games for health professional education”.

Drs. Edwards and Cosimini started by explaining that Gamification is a technique that incorporates game-like elements in non-game contexts to impact learning behaviors or attitudes. It leverages the motivational and engagement factors found in games to drive desired behaviors and improve the learning experience. Researchers in medical education can use gamification to enhance the effectiveness of traditional educational methods and make learning more interactive and enjoyable. By incorporating game mechanics like points, feedback, competition, and storytelling, medical education researchers can increase engagement, motivation, and retention of information in learners.

They then introduced a theory of gamified learning developed by Landers et al., which states that gamified learning defines gamification as the use of game attributes outside of the context of a game to influence learning-related behaviors or attitudes. These behaviors or attitudes then impact learning through either strengthening the relationship between instructional design quality and outcomes or influencing learning directly. This differs from serious games, where game attributes are used to directly affect learning. The Bedwell taxonomy provides categories of game attributes and examples of how they might be applied in gamification. Recommendations are given for conducting rigorous and scientific studies of gamification. Next, the presenters discuss “Serious Games” by Abt CC, published in 1970, which defines serious games as games with a specific educational purpose and not primarily intended for entertainment. Abt asserts that these games have a well-thought-out educational purpose. They also presented an input-process-output model of instructional games and learning (Garris et al., 2022), which covers the crucial aspects of games from an educational viewpoint, the game cycle of user feedback, behavior, and judgments that define engagement in gameplay, and the resulting learning outcomes. They examine the significance of this model for the creation and implementation of effective instructional games. The presenters highlight that a game is a suitable choice for a medical education session when it enhances learner engagement, changes motivation, provides low-stakes trial and error, has game mechanics that align with learning goals, and showcases how systems work.

Drs. Edwards and Cosiminicontinued their presentation by showcasing various examples of board games currently used in health professions education, including ‘Cards Against Peds Ortho’, ‘Game of Stools’, and ‘Gridlock ED’. The presenters then summarized the results of a survey on a card game used to educate on antibiotic use. The survey was conducted among online groups interested in educational games and healthcare education. Of the 390 participants who completed the survey, 55 were excluded as they were not in healthcare. The majority (56%) were physicians, residents, or medical students, 33% were pharmacists, residents, or students. 53% of participants were from the US, and 70% were downloading the game for their own education. In addition, the optimal length of board games for education is recommended to be around 20 minutes and educators are not encouraged to go above 40 minutes based on survey data. The most often cited barriers for using games for education are the lack of appropriate games and the concern for content accuracy, followed by cost.  They also briefly discussed the potential lack of credibility of games in educational contexts. The presenters then offered some game design tips, starting with the maxim that “game complexity game complexity shouldn’t be harder than the information its providing. The point is to learn, not to understand the game.”. The presenters concluded their presentation by highlighting the uniqueness of card and board games as a social environment for active learning. Currently, not many such games are available, but there is a demand for short and simple 2-4 player games. If you think about creating a game for your specific educational setting, they recommend starting by recycling mechanics from known games.