ALIA Information Online 2017 Conference, 13-17 February 2017 Sydney: Data Information Knowledge
[Peer reviewed] This conference paper discusses using gaming to teach traditional library information literacy and evidence-based medicine content can be a fresh and pedagogically sound way to engage learners with this material.
Abstract: As US medical education shifts towards competency based education, the methods in which we teach certain topics need to be reexamined. Our evidence based medicine (EBM) curriculum was created several years ago and had been taught with little revision. A period of transition afforded the library an opportunity to step back and reimagine how that content was being delivered during the inaugural session of what has been a 3 part series starting in Quarter 1 (Q1). With a delayed introduction to basic EBM concepts (Q4 vs. Q1) how to best address the gap between current and future needs was a pressing concern. The answer to our dilemma was found in the burgeoning area of educational gaming. Instead of a traditional case-based lecture, the authors decided to develop a game (BINGO) highlighting need to know tools and concepts. This activity was then paired with a previously presented case to provide both context and direct application of the student’s newly acquired knowledge.
To reimagine the session, the authors met with the course leads to get logistical and contextual input. Based on experience, feedback, and emerging educational theory, the librarians decided to make the session as student driven as possible. Utilizing a game provided an opportunity to flip the student learning experience. Instead of receiving a lecture/demo and taking notes, students had the opportunity to engage in team-based learning, using tools already familiar to them (Google), while identifying new resources and concepts related to EBM/research. Direct application of the game content followed when students were asked to identify and use appropriate resources to a known case. Where students are traditionally focused on solving their cases to get a correct diagnosis, our activity required them to think through and document their search process.
The game itself was well received. From observation, most students seemed actively engaged and eager to compete. The fact that the activity was team based, timed and incentivized (winning team got to pick prizes from a grab bag) likely helped to drive participation. Prepping the game with a mini-activity, developing a team name, helped to get students in a team mentality. To successfully run this type of activity with 2 groups of 45, a minimum of 4 facilitators are needed to handle logistics. A mid-quarter evaluation will elicit student perception of the activity.
Gaming taps into motivations such as belonging and esteem. Using a gamified approach is an effective method to deliver library content that can be perceived as dry or heavily theoretical. The camaraderie and focused energy gaming brings can generate engagement at the beginning of a session, which can then be carried through to other activities. Short, targeted games (20 minutes or less), lend themselves perfectly to the adult learner’s attention span. By partnering a game with more traditional forms of teaching (case based scenario) students have the opportunity to both participate in and apply the learning process.