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Gamification: Designing novel games to encourage a holistic approach to anatomy revision

Amy Dodds BSc MSc FHEA Teaching Fellow in Anatomy | Keele Anatomy and Surgical Training Centre | Keele Medical School

Watch the author's presentation here

Learn more about gamification here

Learn more about future directions for the project here

What are you?

A ‘guess-who’ inspired game designed to encourage students to ask specific and probing questions to decipher their opponent’s anatomical structure card.

Game Rules

Game Design

Anatomize

A board game designed to test students’ anatomical knowledge of various body regions, highlighting areas of strength and/or weakness in knowledge retention and application.

Game Rules

Game Design

Paraphrase

A card-based guessing game designed to encourage students to use concise anatomical language to describe and explain various structures to their peers.

Game Rules

Game Design

Anatomy Connect

A novel card game designed to encourage peer discussion, intellectual debate, and the consideration of anatomical links between structures from regions that might otherwise be considered as separate.

Game Rules

Game Design

Game Design

This game is specifically designed to test students’ overall knowledge of various anatomical structures by requiring them to use deductive reasoning to work out their opponent's structure. Students must ask accurate anatomical questions to establish which structure may or not may not present on their opponent's card. This requires students to have an understanding of each anatomical structure and its parts, features and functions, hence testing their overall comprehension and problem-solving skills.

Gamification involves incorporating gaming mechanics into typically non-gaming activities to increase participation.In this case, anatomy revision materials have been designed to include elements of game-play such as competition with others, point-scoring and rules of play, to encourage students to engage meaningfully in anatomy revision activities.

Gamification in education

Benefits of gamification

  • Provides motivation for students to engage with learning
  • Encourages meaningful participation in learning activities
  • Reduces stakes and makes learning fun

Game Design

This game is specifically designed to test students’ anatomical knowledge of various body regions, highlighting areas of strength and/or weakness in their understanding of anatomical concepts.

Students play in pairs, which reduces fear of failure and encourages competitiveness, leading to better engagement. The content of the game is aligned to the medical curriculum, ensuring that it is relevant and appropriate for the intended audience. Students are tasked with answering a variety of questions, as well as completing drawing tasks that mimick the classic game of Pictionary.

Game Design

This game is specifically designed to encourage students to practice using concise language to describe and explain various anatomical structures to their peers.

Cards are randomly allocated to players, removing their ability to avoid difficult topics. Game-play is time pressured with a 60-second sand timer, which encourages the use of concise language from students; a skill which is key for success in their anatomy Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), where they have ~8 minutes to complete their anatomy station.

In order to make our educational resources more widely available, we intend to further develop each game to encompass an online, digital version which can be accessed virtually by students from across the globe. We also hope to collaborate with colleagues from other allied healthcare disciplines to develop further iterations of these games aimed at students from different courses and academic levels.

Future directions - further development

Figure 1. An early-stage prototype of an online iteration of 'Anatomize: The ultimate anatomy quiz game'

Game Design

This game is specifically designed to encourage students to form connections between anatomical structures that they might otherwise consider as separate from each other. Students are tasked with identifying and then justifying appropriate anatomical connections between randomly allocated anatomy vocabulary cards. This pushes students to think conceptually about the body as a complex, interconnected system, rather than as a series of defined and separate functional regions or parts.