If you were in attendance at the 2013 Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions (ACHEP) conference last week there is no doubt you heard the term “gamification” more than once. Games and simulations for continuing medical education is growing in popularity and it was very evident at this year’s event. As a conference sponsor and exhibitor, Digitec Interactive was one of a few companies on hand who lent their expertise on the subject of game-based learning during the meeting. Hundreds of attendees stopped by the booth to inquire about gamification and how they could implement gaming elements into their online learning programs to increase learner engagement and retention.
In case you couldn’t attend or missed our demonstrations, here is your “quick start guide” to gamification for CME.
For decades, eLearning has taken a very traditional approach to gauging learning comprehension and skill mastery in the form of text-based assessment questions at the end of a course. Simple true and false, fill in the blank, or multiple choice questions are easy to write, and quick to generate and they do provide a level of engagement. However, these types of assessments provide little engagement for the learner and do not allow for practice. Moreover, learners are sometimes given very little of the context that would help them with real-world application.
In her blog, Cathy Moore explains that using scenarios will help significantly in, “make[ing] your elearning more engaging and could lead to better transfer on the job…it also emulates the way we learn in the real world – from experience, not from a disembodied voice that immediately tells us ‘incorrect’.”
The great thing about game-based learning is that it gives your learners a chance to test their skills before putting them in a high stakes environment, like in front of patients, or worse, in the operating room! It is highly interactive, relevant to the learner, and measures the performance that is a better predictor of success. But you don’t need to design elaborate simulations. By making small changes in the way that you frame your quiz questions, you can turn your textbook concept checks into realistic challenges that your learners may encounter in the future.
But beyond simple questions, there are ways to reinforce high level skills, creating immersive learning simulations.
When creating the Immersive Learning Simulation Engine, Digitec kept that concept of “failing forward” in mind. Rather than sitting idle as they watch a recorded presentation or read through case studies, learners get the opportunity to practice their skills in a virtual situation, relevant to the “real world” environment. By using an immersive learning simulation, they’ll be able to practice applying their skills, and understanding consequences, without the kinds of risks that hinder learning growth and enthusiasm.
You can see an example of this in Digitec’s Medical Safety Simulations. In this activity, physicians and nurses practice their patient communication skills as they are presented with various cases. Learners are presented with the patient’s history, current complaint and then enter the virtual “exam room” where they will engage the patient and formulate their diagnosis and treatment plan. Ultimately, the outcome is in the learner’s hand, as they decide how to respond and what questions to ask throughout the activity. With each response, learners earn points and climb their way up the leaderboard! The better the outcome, the more points scored!
Learners are free to fail with these virtual patients, and learn from their mistakes with short feedback prompts, as well as through an interactive “end of mission” remediation map which graphs the learners progress.
For medical organizations looking for an innovative way to increase learning retention and engage their learners, gamification could be the answer. With simulations for CME, you can create scenarios that are realistic and better measure the skills a healthcare providers needs to master, in context to the job. The game-based component is a great motivator for learning, too.
Considering a learning scenario for your next CME program? Contact us today to learn more about Digitec’s experience in creating interactive eLearning scenarios and to see a demo of Digitec’s Medical Safety Simulation. We would also be happy to partner with your organization for grant funding.