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Medical Education

The Learning Game: What can it do for Instructors and Students Open Access


Author or creator
Gnarpe, Judy A
Additional contributors
Student Assessment of Learning Games (SALG)
educational games
Type of item
Conference/workshop Poster
Background: An asynchronous multiplayer online learning game was developed for use in the preclinical courses at our medical school. This game system is now used by other courses in the Faculty of Medicine and is gaining popularity in other faculties. The resource was developed according to perceived needs of both the student and the instructor. Students use the game to review course concepts; receive instructor feedback about the question content; challenge other students in the class, creating an enjoyable competition and increasing interaction in the community of learners; test themselves for exams and communicate directly with the instructor through the system. Instructors can use the games to determine if their teaching practice has been effective, to extend the content in a course and to standardize new multiple choice exam questions before using them in exams. Within the questions provided, the instructor can add images or links to other websites, allowing for a more visual learning experience and enriching content. Methodology: Surveys were administered to students in the undergraduate medical program and students in a medical microbiology class for nursing. Students were asked if they thought the learning games enhanced their learning, provided more support for them during the course, provided an enjoyable way to review course material and reduced the stress that they felt during the course. They were also asked to provide prose comments about the games and their perception of the advantages for their learning. Discussion: Instructors make games using multiple choice questions to review course content, and by making the learning resource available to students can get good feedback about problems and levels of understanding. “Games” can be comprehensive, covering a whole course or can be constructed from material derived for only one lecture, providing a just-in-time snapshot of teaching and learning effectiveness. Reports of several types can be generated to help steer the teaching process: individual student performance on game questions is useful for identification of students who need more attention and individual question performance can give insights into how well the material was presented. Instructors can generate reports on the subcategories of the major subject to see how students are doing in different areas of the course, which can lead to a change in teaching practices if deficiencies are found. A major useful function of the system for instructors is the ability to standardize new multiple choice questions by using item analysis before using these questions in an examination. Conclusions: Providing online quizzes in a course with small game-type characteristics increased student satisfaction with their courses and reduced student self-perceived stress. Use of game systems for feedback and assessment allows instructors to interact with students outside of class. Added advantages include the ability to assess student performance and areas of difficulty and increase engagement with course content.
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