The game was initially tested with over 70 interdisciplinary staff at Vancouver General Hospital. Now, it has been used by over 2000 people across 10 hospitals. This is an award winning research, funded by Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.
George Padua, Raccoopack Media’s founder and experienced game developer, worked with Vancouver Coastal Health to develop a web game that educates staff across health authorities on the topic of dementia care.
Dr. Lillian Hung, clinical nurse specialist at Vancouver General Hospital, recognized the potential of gamification in education as she applied gamification principles to her PhD work. Gamification does not only offer an interactive experience, but can also include social elements to motivate learning. This inspired her to help staff learn about dementia care through a game that is engaging, fun, and connected.
“The ART & SCIENCE of Patient-Centered Care is all about attitude and practice, which require a shift in the norm of social interactions. Gamification seems to be effective to help with the shift.” – Dr. Lillian Hung
Given George’s experiences with game design, he crafted a game to meet the learning outcomes of “The ART & SCIENCE of Person-Centered Care”. The game is carefully designed to be fun and simple to play while serving the purpose of educating staff.
Learning by Playing
The player begins by choosing an avatar to represent them, and is then presented with scenarios to learn the acronyms behind the “ART” and “SCIENCE” in caring for dementia patients. These scenarios represent real-life situations that many staff encounter. To earn as many points as possible, the player must choose the appropriate strategy before the timer runs out.
Creating a Friendly Competition
On top of the scenario-based training, George also implemented a leaderboard system that shows the top scores categorized by hospital, unit, and individuals. A leaderboard offers a number of advantages in gamification by creating a friendly competition. Players are motivated to play the game multiple times and earn the most points possible. This allows the player to learn through repetition and practice, aiding in gradual retention of the learning content.
As the intended players of the game include a wide range of healthcare professionals, an interesting challenge was ensuring that the content is relatable for everyone. The solution for this was to involve the target players during the development process. This included working with nurses, physicians, and care aides to both develop the content for the game. As well, prototypes were tested with these user groups to gather their experiences and feedback, which provided insights on how to improve the game design.
The game was tested with over 70 interdisciplinary staff before arriving at the final product. Since the completion of the project, the game has been used in staff orientation for Vancouver General Hospital staff and has been introduced across 10 hospitals in British Columbia.
This widespread adoption goes to show the effectiveness of leveraging gamification in a professional education setting. Vancouver Coastal Health conducted a survey on the staff who played the game, and the findings are compelling: