MO-DE-BRA-01: Enhancing Radiation Physics Instruction Through Gamification and E-Learning

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Abstract

Purpose:

This project sought to “gamify” the instruction of radiation interaction physics concepts for technology students. Gamification applies game mechanics and user interactions in active learning contexts. In one part of this project, a self-guided eModule was developed for conceptual radiation interaction instruction. In a second part, a web-based game, Particle Launch (http://particle-launcher.ist.unomaha.edu), was created to challenge students to quickly apply radiation interaction concepts in a way that is stimulating and motivating.

Methods:

The eModule, focused on conceptual interaction physics, was designed in Adobe Captivate and incorporates animation, web videos, and assessment questions in order to generate student interest. Navigating the whole module takes 40 minutes for beginners. Assessments after three main sections are comprised of 3–4 questions randomly selected from a question pool. In collaboration with the University of Nebraska at Omaha's College of Information Science and Technology, the Particle Launch game was created with the Unity gaming engine and designed with a game-play look and feel. The object of the game is to utilize different particles, energies, and directions to destroy a target given a limited number of resources and time to complete the task. A rewards system encourages accurate shots.

Results:

The eModule part of the project encourages a flipped classroom model in which class time is devoted to application of concepts rather than information-based lectures. Currently, eModule assessments are not tracked but this feature could be incorporated to encourage participation. Furthermore, in a class of five technology students, the game was found to be fun and engaging and had the effect of reinforcing basic concepts from the eModule.

Conclusion:

Gamification has significant potential to alter medical physics instruction. Game-play feedback is an important part of the learning process. Students found Particle Launch inviting and challenging and further research could help game design.

This project was generously supported by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

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