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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 256-257

The impact of a gamified world on medical education

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, SW7 2AZ, London, UK

Date of Web Publication18-Apr-2018

Correspondence Address:
Connor S Qiu
Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, SW7 2AZ, London
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/efh.EfH_224_16

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How to cite this article:
Qiu CS. The impact of a gamified world on medical education. Educ Health 2017;30:256-7

How to cite this URL:
Qiu CS. The impact of a gamified world on medical education. Educ Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Jun 6];30:256-7. Available from:

Dear Editor,

Gamified experiences are experiences that encompass game-like elements. Well-known examples of game-like elements in the digital age include earning points, online leaderboards, and achievement badges.[1] These elements are becoming increasingly integrated in all aspects of modern day life.

Medical education is one of the many areas where there has been sustained interest in the usage of gamified experiences to improve learning outcomes. However, the ubiquity of such experiences is having effects on the basic psychology of students and learners.[2] It is, therefore, important to consider how these trends are interrelated and their implications for the future of medical education.

Gamification, which can be understood to be the process of creating gamified experiences, takes advantage of the natural human desire to play, and it enhances the multifaceted dimensions of this inherent trait.[3] Doing so through the digital medium, students and learners engaging with medical curricula can be expected to learn more, work better together, and improve their clinical skills at a higher rate through iterative feedback processes, enabled by gamified multimedia experiences.[4]

The effectiveness of gamification in medical education is dependent, as is the future of gamification, on the ability of current gamified experiences to have a sustained impact on the behaviors of individuals. There are already some doubts as to whether gamified experiences are entirely positive. There is particular concern about the long-term effects of repeated triggering of some of the psychological mechanisms that gamified experiences rely on to achieve their outcomes. Overuse of rewards in general, as an element of gamification, has been associated with decreasing the intrinsic motivation of students to achieve good grades, exactly the opposite of the desired outcome.[2]

Nonetheless, gamified experiences provide much promise in the field of medical education. These experiences are perhaps unavoidable as a result of the developing cultural and technological trends in our global society. Consideration should be given to both digitized gamification experiences and the power of creating gamified experiences in the wider contexts of medical education delivery, whether through designing a lecture course to be delivered orally or modules to deliver through a digital, interactive medium.

A world which includes diverse and varied gamified experiences can shape the motivations and desires of future students and mold their learning styles. This, in turn, can create unique and challenging requirements for the future of medical education. Gamification is changing the efficacy of medical education strategies. Surgical trainees in Boston, USA, were noted to use the available da Vinci Skills Simulator significantly more after game-like elements were introduced into training,[5] yet the overarching impact of gamification is broader than this. A gamified world, through its effects on the upcoming cohorts of medical students, can shape medical education. Medical education should therefore seek to successfully shape gamified experiences to fulfill the requirements of an ever-changing educational landscape.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Hamari J, Koivisto J, Sarsa H. Does Gamification Work? – A Literature Review of Empirical Studies on Gamification. Proceedings of the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. Hawaii, USA; 6-9 January, 2014.  Back to cited text no. 1
Hanus MD, Fox J. Assessing the effects of gamification in the classroom: A longitudinal study on intrinsic motivation, social comparison, satisfaction, effort, and academic performance. Comput Educ 2015;80:152-61.  Back to cited text no. 2
Raessens J. Playful identities, or the ludification of culture. Games Cult 2006;1:52-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
McCoy L, Lewis JH, Dalton D. Gamification and multimedia for medical education: A Landscape review. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2016;116:22-34.  Back to cited text no. 4
Kerfoot BP, Kissane N. The use of gamification to boost residents' engagement in simulation training. JAMA Surg 2014;149:1208-9.  Back to cited text no. 5


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