Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Educational Games as a Teaching Tool in Pharmacy Curriculum

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Educational Games as a Teaching Tool in Pharmacy Curriculum

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Games designed for serious purposes rather than just entertainment are gaining worldwide attention as they allow players to learn new skills and knowledge, stimulate physical activities, or enhance social-emotional development. (7-9) These games are widely applied within the educational field to facilitate students' learning through the integration of information in a competitive active environment. (10,11) An educational game is defined as an instructional method that requires the learner to participate in a competitive activity with preset rules. (12) It can support higher-level discussions that assist in enhancing students' communication, social collaboration, and critical-thinking skills, all of which are abilities essential to the pharmacist. (13,14) Further, educational games allow educators to create real-life scenarios within safe environment without real-life consequences. (15) Despite of the advantages of games in the health care field, the evidence of their pedagogical effectiveness is still in question. (16) Also, potential difficulties arise with the strategy as some students may find the competition among peers threatening or anxiety-causing. (17)

Even though a large number of studies have investigated using different active-learning approaches such as team-based learning, (18-23) case-based learning, (24-27) Corresponding Author: Mona Hassan Aburahma, PhD, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy, Cairo University, Kasr El-Aini Street, Cairo, Egypt. E-mail: mona_aburahma@hotmail.com problem-based learning, (28-31) and simulations in pharmacy schools, (32-35) fewer studies have examined the usefulness of games in that context. (36-48) Additionally, there is no review to date that summarizes and validates the positive outcomes associated with educational games used in pharmacy schools.

We conducted a comprehensive electronic search to uncover all research articles relating to this topic in peer-reviewed journals. Databases, search engines, and specific academic journals were systematically searched up until January 2014. The following combinations of search terms were used: "educational games and pharmacist," "educational games and pharmacy," "games in pharmacy education," and "serious games in pharmacy education." Titles and abstracts resulting from the initial online searches were screened for relevance and eligibility for full-text retrieval. Additional articles were searched through citation by checking the reference sections of the sourced articles. Eligible articles were original, experimental full-text research articles published in English in which the intervention of interest was described as an educational game by the study author and in which pharmacy students were study participants. We excluded poster presentations and studies in which educational games occurred outside the discipline of pharmacy. Also excluded were role-plays not called games by the study author(s), and did not include a fun/excitement component (dice, game piece, game board, playing cards) or a specific gaming format (competitive activity with preset rules).

FINDINGS

Title and abstract screening identified 17 potentially eligible articles. After complete text readings of the articles, 4 were excluded because they did not meet the criteria. Two articles were excluded as the impact of the games on student performance was not yet investigated because the games were still under development. (49,50) One study presented 4 medication-related educational board games but the study sample were community pharmacy patrons not pharmacy students. (51) Another was excluded because it was a descriptive report about the adaptation of 3 popular television game shows to pharmacy classes. (52) The remaining 13 papers were included regardless of their quality.

To facilitate comparisons, the following data were extracted and are presented in Tables 1 and 2: (1) types of game platforms; (2) number of students participating; (3) year of the students in professional pharmacy school; (4) courses in which games were taught; (5) awards, if any; (6) presence of facilitators/moderators; and (7) evaluation tool used. …

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