Medicina: A multiplatform videogame to improve language skills in international nursing students

Author: Adam Koschade

Koschade, Adam, 2024 Medicina: A multiplatform videogame to improve language skills in international nursing students, Flinders University, College of Nursing and Health Sciences

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Background. In the Australian healthcare system, international nursing students represent a sizeable, positive, and vital part of a diverse nursing workforce for a culturally and linguistically diverse patient population. In addition to the benefits these students offer, international students may face important challenges. International nursing students often struggle with language acquisition especially related to specialised academic language such as medication names. New targeted pedagogical tools in nursing education are needed for this population. One potential tool is computer assisted language learning (CALL) videogames. Despite the potential benefits of CALL videogames, nursing educators have been slow to implement this technology, with few videogames previously evaluated.

Aims. The study aimed to develop and evaluate the Medicina multiplatform CALL videogame focused on medication names which seeks to improve language skills for international nursing students. Furthermore, the study aimed to evaluate Medicina’s effect on language skills, psychological factors, game usage, usability, and perceptions of the videogame.

Method. Thirty-two international nursing students from universities across Australia took part in a multicentre trial. The study used a quantitative, quasi-experimental, one-group pretest-posttest design involving three phases (pretest, two-week intervention, and posttest). The multiplatform videogame was developed by the researcher and was playable via WebGL (desktop/laptop) or Android mobile devices. Data were obtained through online written questionnaires and comprehensive gamelogs via a Research Management System.

Results. Study findings support the effectiveness, usage, usability, and positive perceptions of the Medicina multiplatform CALL videogame. Medicina had positive effects on language skills including increasing familiarity with medication names, ease of recognition, confidence in understanding spoken medication names, and a non-significant increase in phonological awareness. International nursing students had positive levels of intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, task value, test anxiety, and overall MSLQ score at baseline and posttest. Gamelogs revealed participants played a mean of 13.47 sessions of Medicina for a mean total time of 35 minutes, with a mean of 264 medication names answered correctly. Three patterns of engagement were identified. Participants strongly preferred the WebGL platform over Android devices. Avatar preference was more balanced, with most participants playing each of the avatars at least once. Medium was the preferred difficulty level overall, played by the highest proportion of players, sessions, and durations. Easy was the least popular difficulty level. Progression between difficulty levels happened on the first day within a mean of 11 minutes. Participants rated the usability of the Medicina videogame as excellent and above average, and had positive perceptions of Medicina and its features. Participants enjoyed the videogame and reported improved language skills, familiarity with medication names, confidence, understanding of Australian accents and word-parts, with benefits for nursing skills and clinical placements.

Conclusion. The aims of the research were met. The study provided novel insights and significant original contribution to knowledge, with important implications for the implementation of Medicina and for nursing education. Limitations (especially in the context of COVID) and future directions were discussed. CALL videogames such as Medicina may provide a beneficial, culturally responsive, strengths-based pedagogical tool in nursing education for international nursing students.

Keywords: nursing education, international nursing students, medical terminology, computer assisted language learning, serious games, English as an additional language, English as a second language, multicentre study, Australia

Subject: Nursing thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2024
School: College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Supervisor: Associate Professor Amanda Müller