Objective: The aim of this study was to assess, using a Web-based format, third-year medical students' pediatric knowledge and perceptions of game playing with faculty facilitation compared with self-study computerized flash cards.
Methods: This study used a repeated-measures experimental design with random assignment to a game group or self-study group. Pediatric knowledge was tested using multiple choice exams at baseline, week 6 of the clerkship following a 4-week intervention, and 6 weeks later. Perceptions about game playing and self-study were evaluated using a questionnaire at week 6.
Results: The groups did not differ on content mastery, perceptions about content, or time involved in game playing or self-study. Perceptions about game playing versus self-study as a pedagogical method appeared to favor game playing in understanding content (P<.001), perceived help with learning (P<.05), and enjoyment of learning (P<.008). An important difference was increased game group willingness to continue participating in the intervention.
Conclusions: Games can be an enjoyable and motivating method for learning pediatric content, enhanced by group interactions, competition, and fun. Computerized, Web-based tools can facilitate access to educational resources and are feasible to apply as an adjunct to teaching clinical medicine.