Most of us who are educators have a few games in our ‘bag of tricks’ that we use to teach or reinforce concepts. Perhaps a version of Jeopardy, Family Feud, or Trivial Pursuit that you play with students or staff in order to reinforce learning about the basics of cancer or principles of cancer treatment. Students and staff usually enjoy these activities because they are more interactive and way more fun than didactic presentations. Educational games have the potential to improve health professionals’ performance through improving their knowledge, skills and attitudes. And their use is supported by Knowles’ theory of adult learning. But games have drawbacks. You need enough staff to create teams and enough time to play to the game’s end – two things that are often lacking.
A potential solution is the use of interactive, Web-based learning applications or computer games as they are commonly referred to. This week we’ve added one such game to AccrualNet. It’s the Virtual Clinical Trials Simulator created by Rice University Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning. This game allows players to develop a better understanding of clinical trials and related careers, and would be useful for those new to the field. Players set up a phase 2 clinical trial to test a new therapy for spinal cord injury patients, and in doing so learn about the phases of clinical trials, patient eligibility, and the informed consent process. I played this morning. It was fun! Why don’t you play and let us know what you think.