Comparing the Effects on Learning Outcomes of Tablet-Based and Virtual Reality-Based Serious Gaming Modules for Basic Life Support Training: Randomized Trial

JMIR Serious Games. 2019 May 1;7(2):e13442. doi: 10.2196/13442.


Background: Serious gaming is recognized as a training tool due its potential for a risk-free educational environment. There is still limited research about using serious gaming modules for emergency skills training.

Objective: The aim of this study is to compare the effects on the knowledge level of participants after using a tablet-based serious game and a virtual reality (VR)-based serious game for Basic Life Support using a pretest/posttest method.

Methods: The study was designed as a randomized trial comparing pretest and posttest results. A tablet-based and VR-based serious game with identical content was used for 40 participants. Over half of them (22/40, 55%) were included in the VR group and just under half (18/40, 45%) were in the tablet group. Student t test and Wilcoxon signed rank tests were used to determine the relation between the dependent and independent variables. In order to determine the effect size of the results, the effect size calculator (Cohen d) for t test was used. There is a significant difference between pre- and posttest results in both groups (P=.001; Wilcoxon).

Results: Mean posttest results were significantly higher in both groups. The posttest results were significantly higher in the VR group in terms of pre- and posttest changes (P=.021; Student t test).

Conclusions: Past research studies have shown that serious gaming presents a favorable additional tool for medical education. The results indicate that both serious gaming modules are effective and that VR-based serious gaming is more efficient in terms of learning outcome than tablet-based gaming.

Keywords: health care education; serious gaming; virtual reality.