Intersection of Serious Games and Learning Motivation for Medical Education: A Literature Review

Intersection of Serious Games and Learning Motivation for Medical Education: A Literature Review

Santa Dreimane (University of Latvia, Latvia) and Reinis Upenieks (University of Latvia, Latvia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/IJSEUS.2020070104


Educational scholars are implementing technologies into the educational process. They use virtual reality, simulations, augmented reality and other immersive technologies that provide entertainment and an interesting, immersive environment as well as engage and motivate students. The aim of this research is to understand the scope and the nature of studies where serious games for medical education are prospective research subjects for the development of learning motivation. There are specific research questions that are of interest to the authors: (1) how many studies are devoted to exploring how serious games and simulations develop learning motivation; (2) how many studies are devoted to medical education, especially continuing professional education; and (3) which professional fields are most reflected in the search results, and is interdisciplinary learning observed? To answer the research questions, a systematic analysis of publications was chosen as the research method. Altogether, 132 articles published from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2018 were selected for the review.
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Theoretical Framework

Technological developments have affected every aspect of life and changed the ways people communicate, work, learn, travel, shop, play, etc. Technologies have replaced many traditional functions in order to make people lives easier and more comfortable. Scholars have recognized the importance of the impact of technologies on people’s behaviour, attitudes, motivation, and development of skills and knowledge, and they are looking for new and better ways to scaffold students and improve educational processes. With the advent of technology, augmented reality, virtual reality and simulations have emerged, as well as gamification as a response to people’s affection for entertainment and the fast-growing game industry. One of the categories with an established field of study is that of serious games, which are also known as educational games, learning games, games to educate and learn, etc.

Serious games are a contemporary pedagogical and problem-solving strategy designed for learning in a virtual environment with predefined learning objectives (Landers, 2014; Karagiorgas & Niemann, 2017). They use simulation models in virtual or mixed reality to promote learning and solve problems with game-based techniques. Although serious games use game design and game elements, their purpose is not to entertain people; they are used for serious purposes. The main goal is to educate through playing the game with instructions, including for training and practice, and they also provide solutions.

Serious games can be used in many fields, but they are most commonly used in military, aviation and medical training (Chaudhary, 2010). The game-based learning process provides a safe environment for players to identify obstacles and overcome challenges (Doherty et al., 2017), and gives them opportunities for controlled skills practice without risk of harm to anyone (Sitzmann 2011), which means being able to make mistakes and try again. Real life does not always provide such chances.

Studies show that serious games are more effective at developing cognitive abilities and knowledge (Huizenga et al., 2017) and solving problems. In 2008, using a collaborative online game called Foldit, a video game player solved a molecular riddle that scientists had been unable to solve for many years. It was accomplished in just three weeks in this game by using humans' puzzle-solving intuition to predict the structure of the cure (Boyle, 2011).

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