Games get students in learning mode
Forget hour-long lectures and boring slide show presentations. In an age of highly advanced technology, medical education should at least be fun. A quest to connect student learning with their preferred learning styles has given rise to the use of medical gaming software at SOMA.
“It’s about learning, rather than teaching,” says Frederic A. Schwartz, DO, ’69, FACOFP, associate dean, SOMA. A student should be able to access information in a way that’s comfortable for them and consistent with the way they live their lives, he says.
“This is a generation that’s grown up with a humanelectronic interface. We realized we needed to be comfortable with other modes of transmitting information.”
Learn more about C3 SoftWorks at www.c3softworks.com, more about Decision Sim at www.decisionsimulation.com, and download Prognosis free from Medical Joyworks at www.medicaljoyworks.com.
Nearly two years ago, C3 SoftWorks was introduced at SOMA to supplement basic clinical and pre-clinical learning. These are not your run-of-the-mill question and answer modules. These are highly sophisticated TV game show spin-offs that can present videos, cases, physical findings, and more. Plus, instructors can determine if the game is played individually or with a whole class, as simultaneous feedback can be delivered to everyone playing.
“We played ‘Who Wants to be a Billionaire?,’ and the students loved it,” says Mara Hover, DO, associate chair, family and community medicine; director, clinical affairs unit; and assistant professor. Dr. Hover has successfully used C3 SoftWorks in the human development course. Forty-nine percent of students indicated that it facilitated their learning.
“We’re pleased with the results. We know we’ll utilize more games,” she says.
Yet another educational gaming software making its debut at SOMA is the comprehensive Decision Sim. Multifaceted virtual patient simulations require students to work through clinical presentation schemes and treatment options. As complex as real life, these simulations are proven to strengthen clinical decision-making skills.
“[Decision Sim] requires a lot of faculty time to put together; it’s incredibly robust,” says Dr. Schwartz. Faculty has been using it for nearly a year now.
But perhaps the most innovative gaming endeavor is a joint venture with Medical Joyworks, a Sri Lanka-based company offering a medical smartphone app called Prognosis, to develop its own apps based on its unique patient-presentation curriculum. This multi-year project is funded by a federal primary care grant and allows students to deliberately practice a scheme until they get it right. Case scenarios are based on real patients and are quick and fun to play.
“It’s small, rapid, and highly portable,” says Dr. Schwartz. “You can do it on your iPhone, iPad, or Android. The games will be complex and build in video case presentations based on the 125 ways patients present to doctors, reinforcing the thought process of our curriculum.”
Enthusiastic faculty and students are giving educational gaming two thumbs up.