Gaming Has a Place in Everyone's Learning?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012: 8:30 AM

Roy Anthony Brown, MA, PGDMS, RN, BA, DipN
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health, University of Wollongong, Gwynneville, Australia

Simulation and the “virtual world” have been morphing into a symbiotic creature where health care professionals can “experience” a range of situations that they could (or are not likely to) meet in the world of work.

Gaming provides opportunities for repetitive exposure to contexts and situations; the student can explore critical thinking and decision making, but through revisiting, choose different paths through the experience.

The student; experienced clinician; academic and client need to construct a pedagogy that supports gaming. This is not gaming in the Nash (1951) sense were we are looking for winners (although survival might be seen as a “win”) this is gaming from a need to make appropriate decisions in the changing circumstances (clinical reasoning); were communication in an agent based environment can provide real time fluidity; were quality and safety can drive the agenda.

In this “virtual space” we can engineer real controlled opportunities and within that control we can provide a level of challenge that links the developing reasoning and critical thinking of the student.

Agent based gaming is unlike other virtual worlds in which participants have to be ‘in the space’ at the same time (synchronous) but using agent based gaming is a true (asynchronous) game; in this environment the other players are ‘controlled’ by the programming rules that we set which are embedded in the social context of health care and where the “human agents interact and co-operate for a common goal” (Bilge & Saka 2006:699).

An opportunity is provided to explore this space and once the ground work and response domains are established (Jain and McLean 2008) it is a short step to developing a range of virtual simulation events for students, clinicians and patients/clients and carers to experience the ‘real virtual world’.