Learning decision making through serious games

Clin Teach. 2016 Aug;13(4):277-82. doi: 10.1111/tct.12426. Epub 2015 Jul 27.


Background: In Serious Games (SGs), educational content is integrated into a game so that learning is intrinsic to play, thereby motivating players and improving engagement. SGs enable learning by developing situated understanding in users and by enabling players to practise safe clinical decision making; however, the use of SGs in medical education is not well established.

Aims: We aimed to design a game-based resource to teach clinical decision making to medical students, and to assess user perceptions of educational value, usability and the role for SGs in undergraduate training.

Methods: An SG focusing on the acute management of tachyarrhythmias was developed. Third- and fourth-year medical students at the medical school were invited to use and evaluate the game using questionnaires and focus groups.

Results: We invited 479 students, and 281 accessed the game. Only 47 students completed the questionnaire and 31 students participated in the focus groups. The data suggest that SGs: (1) can allow students to rehearse taking responsibility for decision making; (2) are fun and motivational; (3) have a role in revising and consolidating knowledge; and (4) could be formative assessment tools. Serious Games enable learning by developing situated understanding in users

Conclusions: SGs could be employed as adjuvant learning resources to develop students' skills and knowledge. Further empirical research is required to assess the added value of games in medical education.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Formative Feedback
  • Humans
  • Teaching Materials
  • Video Games*