BMC Medical Education called for submissions to our Collection on Gamification and Virtual Reality in Medical Education and Related Healthcare Professions. Fueled by the Coronavirus pandemic, digital teaching formats enhanced by interactive elements have received growing attention from higher education institutions worldwide. While the inclusion of game-based elements (‘gamification’) appears feasible in a number of contexts other than the healthcare sector, virtual reality appears to be specifically appealing to medical educators. At the same time, given the potential cost, the use of gamification elements as well as sophisticated software and hardware in order to simulate clinical environments needs to be justified on the basis of concepts in learning psychology suggesting that these elements will be superior to traditional instructional formats or that they can help achieve learning outcomes that have not been covered in the past.
Most studies on gamification and virtual reality in medical education that have been published to date merely represent descriptions of innovations, and only a few present a thorough rationale for their use or present results of prospective, controlled effectiveness trials with meaningful end-points (i.e., objective performance indicators linked to the intended learning outcomes). There is a lack of justification and clarification studies, and evaluations of innovations going beyond mere student satisfaction are needed. In order to be able to decide in favour or against the integration of game-based formats and virtual reality sessions in formal curricula, educators need to have access to original studies, reviews, and recommendations on when and how these elements should be employed.
Studies in this collection will be mainly quantitative in nature; good control of and/or adjustment for potential confounding is particularly important. Studies should be prospective, and ideally we would see a number of randomised studies. At the same time, qualitative and mixed-method studies are welcome if they contribute to explaining quantitative results rather than just providing preliminary thoughts, ideas and opinions. Articles can cover the entire range of health-profession education, including but not limited to undergraduate and postgraduate medical education, nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy, pharmacology, public health and related fields.
In summary, the collection will not mainly be about technological advances but about principles that have guided development and implementation. Studies should assess whether these principles have worked in the specific context of a study, and they should provide conclusions that will be valid and meaningful for other contexts as well.
- Application of concepts from learning psychology to medical education with a focus on gamification and/or virtual reality
- Comparison of traditional instructional formats to innovative approaches including gamification and/or virtual reality with regard to meaningful educational outcomes
- Cost-effectiveness assessments for innovative technology-based solutions compared to a traditional approach
- Constructive alignment between intended learning outcomes, use of gamification and/or virtual reality elements, and formative/summative assessments.
- Added value of gamification / virtual reality elements if used as a supplement to or as a replacement for traditional teaching; effects on curriculum structure and student workload
- Sustainability of new technologies with regard to computing power and waste management of VR devices
The collection invites the following types of articles for possible publication:
- Research articles
- Narrative reviews
- Systematic reviews and meta-analyses
- Scoping reviews
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