Gamification and Multimedia for Medical Education: A Landscape Review

Lise McCoy, EdD; Joy H. Lewis, DO, PhD; and David Dalton, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Accepted: August 25, 2015

Published: January 1, 2016

J Osteopath Med; 116(1): 22-34

Context: Medical education is rapidly evolving. Students enter medical school with a high level of technological literacy and an expectation for instructional variety in the curriculum. In response, many medical schools now incorporate technology-enhanced active learning and multimedia education applications. Education games, medical mobile applications, and virtual patient simulations are together termed gamified training platforms.

Objectives: To review available literature for the benefits of using gamified training platforms for medical education (both preclinical and clinical) and training. Also, to identify platforms suitable for these purposes with links to multimedia content.

Methods: Peer-reviewed literature, commercially published media, and grey literature were searched to compile an archive of recently published scientific evaluations of gamified training platforms for medical education. Specific educational games, mobile applications, and virtual simulations useful for preclinical and clinical training were identified and categorized. Available evidence was summarized as it related to potential educational advantages of the identified platforms for medical education.

Results: Overall, improved learning outcomes have been demonstrated with virtual patient simulations. Games have the potential to promote learning, increase engagement, allow for real-word application, and enhance collaboration. They can also provide opportunities for risk-free clinical decision making, distance training, learning analytics, and swift feedback. A total of 5 electronic games and 4 mobile applications were identified for preclinical training, and 5 electronic games, 10 mobile applications, and 12 virtual patient simulation tools were identified for clinical training. Nine additional gamified, virtual environment training tools not commercially available were also identified.

Conclusions: Many published studies suggest possible benefits from using gamified media in medical curriculum. This is a rapidly growing field. More research is required to rigorously evaluate the specific educational benefits of these interventions. This archive of hyperlinked tools can be used as a resource for all levels of medical trainees, providers, and educators.

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