Student perception and the effectiveness of Kahoot!: A scoping review in histology, anatomy and medical education

Anat Sci Educ. 2021 Apr 26. doi: 10.1002/ase.2094. Online ahead of print.


The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has presented challenges in medical education particularly, with development of online learning in a short time period. Notably there has been a significant increase in the use of digital technology applications to meet this challenge. For instance, in the first quarter of 2020 the game-based software Kahoot! reported a threefold increase in players and a fivefold increase in asynchronous learning globally. However, there is limited research into the use of game-based digital technology applications such as Kahoot! and the associated learning theories, particularly in histology, anatomy and medical education. This scoping review explored the utilization, outcome scores and student perceptions of learning with the application of Kahoot! in histology, anatomy and medical education. Online databases were used to identify articles published between 2013 and 2021 from which 12 articles were included in the review. The majority of papers supported positive student outcomes including improved collaborative learning, improved knowledge of content, attendance, and participation. Minor negative aspects included increased time on task, overwhelming learning content and distractions due to gadgets. None of the papers included a control group. The main educational theories identified were active learning followed by social and constructivism learning theory. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic a rapid and fundamental shift in how digital applications are being used in educational institutions has evolved. Further research on learning frameworks and studies with control groups is required to evaluate Kahoot! as a potentially valuable online application in histology, anatomy and medical education.

Keywords: Covid-19; Kahoot!; digital technology; educational games; game-based software; gamification; gross anatomy education; histology education; teaching and learning.