Health’s got talent: Games with aims


Ultrasound simulator

This blog is a review of the work we presented at the Health’s Got Talent event in May 2015. This year we gave an overview of the way games and simulation were used within the ultrasound programme and were fortunate to be awarded the “gold award” for teaching innovation. This blog gives an insight into some of the games we use in teaching and learning.

I started to introduce games into the teaching of postgraduate students quite a few years ago, but only on an occasional basis to help keep students engaged with the learning process during long days of lectures. As Allison & I developed the ultrasound programme to become more “flipped”, with on-line lectures supported by interactive face-to-face sessions, we started to evaluate the use of games and simulation to help monitor students’ understanding, whilst developing their skills at applying the learning. Literature has suggested that the use of games can improve motivation for learning, because it is fun, but also increase problem solving skills (Sung et al, 2015), help to develop critical thinking and reasoning, provide real time feedback and allow active and collaborative learning (Boctor, 2013).

We have now developed a compendium of games and simulation exercises for use within a range of clinical modules and particularly in the developing advanced practice module. The developing advanced practice module is an interactive module to assist students to develop the skills they need for advanced and consultant practice in the future. Activities we use include prize bingo, where images or descriptions of pathology, image artefacts or clinical symptoms are demonstrated on the screen and students have to match the image/phrase to a word on their bingo card. Other activities are pass the parcel, having students answer a question correctly to open the parcel layer and collect a prize; crosswords and card games.

The personal response system (PRS) also known as “classroom clickers” is used when reviewing images of clinical cases, to gage the level of understanding of the whole group and enable further explanation or review of specific challenging topic areas. We are also planning to use this more for monitoring individual students understanding. Simulation is used to provide an opportunity for students to try out new skills in a safe environment, where instant feedback can be provided, for example breaking bad news.

Boctor (2013) Active-learning strategies: the use of a game to reinforce learning in nursing education. A case study. Nurse Education in Practice. 13 (2), pp. 96–100.

Sung, H. Hwang, G. and Yen, Y (2015) Development of a contextual decision-making game for improving students’ learning performance in a health education course. Computers and Education. 82, pp. 179 – 190.

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