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eMedOffice: A web-based collaborative serious game for teaching optimal design of a medical practice

Andreas Hannig1*, Nicole Kuth2, Monika Özman2, Stephan Jonas13 and Cord Spreckelsen1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Informatics, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstraße 30, Aachen, 52074, Germany

2 Division of General Medicine, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstraße 30, Aachen, 52074, Germany

3 Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA

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BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:104  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-104

Published: 31 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Preparing medical students for the takeover or the start-up of a medical practice is an important challenge in Germany today. Therefore, this paper presents a computer-aided serious game (eMedOffice) developed and currently in use at the RWTH Aachen University Medical School. The game is part of the attempt to teach medical students the organizational and conceptual basics of the medical practice of a general practitioner in a problem-based learning environment. This paper introduces methods and concepts used to develop the serious game and describes the results of an evaluation of the game's application in curricular courses at the Medical School.

Results

Results of the conducted evaluation gave evidence of a positive learning effect of the serious game. Educational supervisors observed strong collaboration among the players inspired by the competitive gaming aspects. In addition, an increase in willingness to learn and the exploration of new self-invented ideas were observed and valuable proposals for further prospective enhancements were elicited. A statistical analysis of the results of an evaluation provided a clear indication of the positive learning effect of the game. A usability questionnaire survey revealed a very good overall score of 4.07 (5=best, 1=worst).

Conclusions

We consider web-based, collaborative serious games to be a promising means of improving medical education. The insights gained by the implementation of eMedOffice will promote the future development of more effective serious games for integration into curricular courses of the RWTH Aachen University Medical School.

Keywords:
Computer-Assisted Instruction/methods; Games, Experimental; Teaching/methods, Education, Medical; Undergraduate/methods; User-Computer Interface