I want to create an interactive pharmacology game that can be used in/outside of the classroom to assist healthcare students in understanding and applying the pharmacologic principles of diabetes medications.
Over the next three months I will make an interactive diabetes pharmacology game targeted towards healthcare students.
Pharmacology can be a very difficult subject for healthcare providers due to the quantity and complexity of the material. Diabetes drugs tend to be exceptionally confusing in their mechanism of action and their application of use. I want to help students learn and understand diabetic pharmacology in a fun and interactive environment.
I will research ideal gaming modalities for learning and applying pharmacology. Then I will draft and develop a game prototype. The goal is to create a game that is fun, educational, and flexible for adding new content.
I have finished the artwork and scoring system for my game it is ready to play! Below is a summary of my project and the process from idea to prototype.
A space themed online pharmacology game designed to help students review and retain diabetes pharmacology and principles. It was designed to be used in the classroom with teams but, can also be used by individuals anywhere to review.
I wanted to create a game that would assist students in reviewing and retaining pharmacology material. The idea of gamification in higher education has always appealed to me and I have personally enjoyed learning games as part of my curriculum in Elon’s Physician Assistant program. I focused on diabetes material as this is typically a challenging section for students.
I utilized research on gamification in the classroom to decide on the format of my game. After mocking up a few different versions I decided to move forward with Kahoot!, an online platform that would allow for team based gaming in the classroom. Lastly I created the content and graphics for the game.
I would like to test the efficacy of my game on improving standardized test scores for first and second year Physician Assistant students. If the game proves to be efficacious, I want to add solar systems with other areas of content like antibiotics or cardiovascular medications. I would also like to develop an app so that I can have more creative control over the platform.
Lastly, just wanted to give a shout out to Elon Kickbox! They helped me go from a bunch of jumbled ideas to a prototype. It was also great to use other creators as a soundboard and inspiration!
Following are the links to get to my kahoot decks:
I have been working hard since the last update! This has been the most fun for me because I get to develop the content and the story line of my project. I can’t believe how much easier it is to create the parts after spending all of my time figuring out the ‘layout’ of my game. My favorite part thus far is making up awesome names for planets with latin roots!
I created a ‘solar system’ which the game will take place in called Systemica Dulcis. The Order of the Phoenix Pharmkon (players) need to defeat the Diabetes Regime that currently controls Systemica Dulcis and all of its planets. Players will get into teams and create a team name and select a captain. The will use the PIN to get into the Kahoot I have created. Different decks of cards represent different planets within Systemica Dulcis. So the class will work to conquer one planet at a time until the whole solar system can be free from the Diabetes Regime. Points are awarded to each group for correct answers and an extra percentage of points is awarded for the quickest answers to limit ties. A mediator, or one of the players, will keep track of each groups points on paper between each planet. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins eternal glory!
I have created 6 planets so far:
Malusomotom- Adverse Effects/Black Box Warnings
Notam- Brand and Generic matching
Langerhans- Categories for insulins
Genus Globus- Categories for non-insulin medications
Gignoskien- Testing for Diabetes
*I did play around with planet maker for a second... could potentially look something like this...
I also created this AWESOME intro that will serve as the set-up and partial directions for the game: *the sound will not work in safari…
I have learned that making questions is HARD. It has also been hard for me to judge how difficult/easy I am making the questions. I am leaning towards making them easier because research supports that and players are awarded points for speed- so they need to be more simple. Kahoot actually limits the characters for each question and answer which bothered me at first but, it has helped me keep things straightforward. I am focusing questions on practical application principles. I have had a few friends try the questions out and they liked the questions and the format. They mentioned that I should include a mechanism of action planet so I plan on adding that into the solar system.
I still need to work on artwork for each of the planets. Although I have been using paper to keep score I would like to have a whiteboard or deck of solar system templates to use to keep track of teams scores- something large so that the whole classroom could visualize it would be perfect. I also need to have people test the game as a whole- from intro to end. I plan on offering classmates some food for their participation and feedback- I will need to create a feedback form as well. I also plan on having my sponsor look through the cards/play as she was my pharmacology teacher and can give me insight if my questions are too easy/hard. Although it isn’t anywhere near perfect I am feeling good about where I am and the things I need to accomplish in the next month!
So I am posting this a little later than I wanted.... but this is what I have been working on since the last post into early March!
I have been working on how to put all of my requirements into a single game. I drafted up a few ideas on paper last month and recently got some feedback from other students, people in my field, kids, and adults about which format sounded like the most fun and made a good learning environment.
Scavenger Style?: Many people stated that a scavenger hunt would be very entertaining but, would limit the ability to learn from other people's answers. This option is also not good for scalability, convenience of play, or independent gaming. For those reasons I decided not to move forward with a scavenger style game despite its positive feedback.
Physical Board vs. Online: An overwhelming majority of people prefered online gaming as opposed to a physical board game. Advantages for this also include being able to access the game from any location and decrease overall cost of producing the game. I will be moving forward with a predominantly online game.
Team vs. Independent Play: Most people preferred team play however, I asked if having the ability to play in a team and independently was important and some people (mostly the student group) said it would be nice to play independently for review. I will focus on a format that utilizes teams but, will try to incorporate an independent player option.
There are so many options for format and set-up of my game so getting feedback helped me narrow down my options. I was surprised by how many different online game formats were available but, it was also quite overwhelming. Due to the feedback I received, I knew I needed to make a game that involved online team play.
I looked through many different gaming platforms before finding Kahoot. Kahoot allows me to create decks of multiple choice cards that are run though as a group or individually. Players go to the Kahoot website and enter in the game pin, make a nickname, and then can see other players/teams playing the game with them. Points are awarded for correct answers and the fastest answer. People can play individually or as a team- which checks off one of my requirements. I can also edit/add cards to the decks at any time which makes it editable- checking off another box. Lastly Kahoot can be played with 4000 or 1 player at a time which makes it scalable- another requirement taken care of. Lastly I thought the format was fun- with integration of music, sounds, and leaderboards to help make the learning process enjoyable.
I feel good about finally selecting a format/site for my game; it eliminates a lot of stress created by the what-ifs. Now I just need to start making topics (planets) and question lists for each one. I also need to decide on how someone ‘wins’ the game- points vs levels. I need to make instructions- I am hoping to do this in the form of a video introduction. Lastly I would like to create some fun images/artwork to use with each deck of cards but, I will wait till my prototype is more stable to start this process.
Research, research, research. I am a bit overwhelmed at this point with all of the research available concerning gamification, games in pharmacy, and games for healthcare students. I’m sure I could keep reading for years but, I have noticed some common themes.
Fun Factor- An essential part of utilizing games in higher level education is the fun factor. Typically gamification concepts are compared to traditional lecture style learning. One of the drawbacks with lecture based teaching is that it can become mundane for students and does not allow for interaction. Gamification allows students to interact with the material and each other in a FUN environment. Many studies showed increased enjoyment in learning vs. traditional lecture style learning. I can say from first hand experience that gamification helped break up the monotony of lectures and reminded me how much I enjoy learning.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears- Not too easy, not too hard, just right
Another theme that was prevalent in research was that a significant effort must be made so that the game is not too hard or too easy for students. Too hard will create a negative learning environment and discourage participation and interaction. Too easy will often result in boredom and disengagement from the game. Creating a game that keeps learners engaged is one of the essential components of gamification.
After doing all of this research I know that I want my game to be fun, engaging, and moderately difficult.
I also want it to be updatable so that new drugs or indications can be added to the game over time. The world of medicine is constantly developing new drugs so it is important that I make something that can evolve as time goes on.
Scalability is another aspect I have addressed while considering how to make my pharmacology game. The game should accommodate 4-38 students wanting to play it so that it can be utilized in a classroom or individual study group capacity. I will consider this when creating the visuals and point/level system for the game. I plan on utilizing teams with a classroom setting and single player teams with fewer students.
Moving forward I have drafted a few ideas about game mechanics and dynamics. Within the next month I will choose a game format/delivery system and start to prototype/develop game components. Theme wise I have decided to integrate a ‘futuristic space’ theme. The diabetes pharmacology game will be its own solar system. It creates the potential to add on other solar systems (disease states) to create galaxies of pharmacology knowledge.