Evaluation of an Innovative Active Learning Strategy in Interdisciplinary Ethics Training
Background and Objective: Use of gaming has been shown to have a positive impact on higher education; however, data on the use of gaming activities in interprofessional health sciences education is lacking. The objective of this study was to describe the development and implementation of an interdisciplinary gaming activity to enhance learning and develop teamwork skills.
Methods: Faculty members created an innovative, educational game, which focused on two “gaming” strategies. The game was broken down into four rounds. The first three rounds, focused on information gathering, were played as a murder-mystery style game with multi-player scripts. Characters included the patient, a family member, and various healthcare professionals. Each player had pieces of information known only to their assigned character. Players could only provide certain information if other players inquired about specific topics. The fourth round, structured as choose your own adventure pathway, required learners to answer questions through a guided worksheet based on information gathered in rounds 1-3 and select the most ethical course of action of four options provided. Once an action was selected, the team reviewed the consequences of that action. The options represented potential treatment strategies and outcomes varied from “positive” to “negative” which was intended to stimulate further team discussion. To evaluate the impact, students completed a survey to assess learner perception of skill building when utilizing the gaming strategy.
Results: Learners from eleven majors participated, and there were 519 survey responses. The majority of students (89.9% and 88.7%) agreed or strongly agreed that the activity structure enhanced learning of an ethical patient case and understanding of interdisciplinary teamwork, respectively. Learner comments indicate that the game was enjoyable, interactive, and improved the team’s communication skills.
Conclusions: The novel gaming technique proved to be a valuable educational game that increased learners’ knowledge of ethical principles and interdisciplinary teamwork and showed a positive perceived overall value by learner participants.
Reflection: While the logistics of delivering the game to 75 teams simultaneously were complex and time-intensive, the incorporation of murder-mystery and choose-your-own adventure style game play was effective in achieving the learning objectives for this IPE event and was well-received by students.