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Inspiring student learning through the introduction of The Reading Game

F.C. Britton,1 T.M. Lewis,1 S. Mobbs2 and R.L. Parker,3 1Department of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia, 2Office of Medical Education, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia and 3School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia.

The Reading Game (Parker, Manuguerra & Schaefer, 2013) is an online question and answer game played by a class of students based on the course curriculum. We trialled this Moodle-based activity in the Beginnings Growth and Development-B (BGD-B) course taken by year 2 students in the UNSW Medicine program. The game challenges students to create interesting questions on BGD-B course content so that other students can learn from and improve upon. The questions were in multiple choice format and could be on any BGD-B topic covered that week on a concept that they understood. To play The Reading Game, each week students were required to ask a minimum of 1 question and to answer 5. The players received points for their efforts in contributing and answering questions, thus, accumulating points in the game which served to motivate students in a similar way to online non-academic games.

Of the 271 BGD-B enrolments, 147 students (54%) engaged in this peer-led activity. At the end of the 7 week course, this student cohort wrote 562 questions and answered these questions 14,697 times. Students also took the opportunity to participate in the rating system that is incorporated into the game design, to evaluate questions and provide online collaborative feedback to their peers. We found the inclusion of the Reading Game into the BGD-B course lifted assessment performance in the end of course exam compared with previous years, with an 8% increase in the mean grade in 2016 compared with 2015 (P<0.0001). Student feedback of the activity was very positive as assessed by course evaluation comments (CATEI) and use of an online survey (Qualtrics). Students considered The Reading Game an enjoyable online collaborative activity and reported that their understanding of BGD-B topics before and after using the Reading Game resource was enhanced from 4.1 to 7.4 (on a 10 point scale), respectively.

Overall, the introduction of The Reading Game increased student engagement in the course content, enhanced student understanding of course topics and improved assessment performance. The Reading Game is viewed as a valuable resource to inspire student learning and improve the student educational experience.

Parker RL, Manuguerra M, Schaefer BF. (2013) The Reading Game -encouraging learners to become question-makers rather than question-takers by getting feedback, making friends and having fun. In H. Carter, M. Gosper and J. Hedberg (Ed), Electric Dreams. Proceedings ascilite 2013 Sydney, pp.681-684.