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Gamifying simulated nursing education: a digital technology approach to enhancing pedagogy and student experience

22 February 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 4


Higher educational institutions have responded to a shortage of clinical placements for students by adopting innovative approaches, such as the use of simulated learning environments. The integration of gamification in simulated placements presents a promising opportunity to enrich and diversify the learning experience. A series of game-based resources to support simulated practice learning was developed by the academic team at the University of Bolton. This study involved evaluating the experiences of students who engaged in these interactive scenarios to assess the potential impact of these digital interventions on learning. The findings indicate that the approach had a significant impact on student learning, improving both their knowledge and their confidence in applying procedures in practice. These findings are of particular significance since it is commonly considered that students in fields such as nursing, which are known for their emphasis on human-centred care, place less value on digital learning technologies.

The advancement of technology has led to the emergence of novel technologically supported approaches in education: among them, gamification presents an innovative and compelling strategy (Tinôco et al, 2021), which involves the incorporation of game elements in real-world tasks. Gamification challenges academics to make teaching more captivating and engaging (Strickland and Kaylor, 2016), and offers a novel approach to problem-solving. The use of gamification in education has been shown to enhance an individual's cognitive and socioemotional skills, such as critical thinking, decision-making, communication, teamwork, cultural competence, emotional management, and empathy with patients and colleagues (Borg Sapiano et al, 2018). In nursing, it has the potential to evaluate these skills in various areas of practice. Through gamified education, intrinsic motivation is more strongly developed than extrinsic motivation. In addition, according to Meehan-Andrews (2009) and Peddle (2011) the use of gamification in the educational process may help motivate and engage students, contributing to a change in their attitudes towards learning. Other benefits of taking this approach include its potential to enhance the quality, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility of education, providing students with the ability to control the timing and pace of their own learning (Cant and Cooper, 2017).

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