Written by IEEE | July 9, 2015 | Updated: December 15, 2020
Gaming has had mixed reception for years. While some people make claims that gamers are antisocial, there is no denying that gaming is an ever-expanding industry.
Gaming has had mixed reception for years. While some people make claims that gamers are antisocial, there is no denying that gaming is an ever-expanding industry. The U.S. video game industry pulled in nearly $15 billion in revenue in 2014, and is projected to surpass $19 billion by 2019. For scientists, tapping into this multi-billion dollar industry has proved especially beneficial as a means educate young (and old) minds about scientific and medical advancements.
Scientists have argued that video games are viable tools for science education, and as Vincent Stevenson stated in his 2013 article, they’ve broken down the core concepts of video games into three “scaffolds”: motivational, cognitive, and metacognitive. The motivational scaffold – which includes curiosity, feedback, praise, etc. – can be used to motivate learning. The cognitive scaffold speaks to our inherent problem solving and critical thinking tendencies. The metacognitive scaffold is the player’s ability to change cognitive constructs based on new information they are faced with. These basic principles of gaming provide a framework for how a company can leverage gaming to develop skills within the medical field.
While doctors use games to learn and practice techniques, they’re also being used by recovering patients, too. “Current games in medicine encourage pro-social behaviors with patients in recovery from some types of surgeries and/or injuries. With new technology, we will find even more ways to integrate games to promote healthy behavior and heal people mentally and physically.” said Elena Bertozzi, IEEE Member and Professor of Digital Game Design and Development at Quinnipiac University. While technology continues to evolve, gamification within the medical field will only progress with technology, improving the quality and effect of medical related games.
When it comes to education, professors and students prefer game-based learning over traditional lectures and textbooks. A survey of 434 residency program directors showed over 90% support for games in residency education and 80% of medical students surveyed (47% of whom do not play video games) believed that video games have educational value, according to Stevenson’s article. There aren’t many students that would prefer to pour over their textbooks for countless hours when they could be playing “games” on their devices.
Video game technology is growing at an exponential rate, offering the same sort of growth potential to the industries that embrace the technology. If games continue to be used for educational purposes, it’s likely video game learning will become the main medium for education in the medical field.