Evaluation of a digital game for teaching behavioral aspects of clinical communication in dentistry

Chia Shu Lin*, Cheng Chieh Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Traditionally, dental students learn the skills for dentist-patient interaction and communication via on-site contact with patients, when they start clinical training. However, preclinical students (who have not started clinical practice) have fewer chances to realize the context of dentist-patient interaction. It has remained unclear if a gamification approach via digital media, i.e., a computer role-playing game, can help to learn clinical communication skills. The intervention-based study investigates the effectiveness of the clinical dentist-patient communication (CDPC) game on students’ motivation, beliefs, and self-efficacy to learn behavioral issues of clinical communication. Methods: Fifty-two dental students (Preclinical group) and 18 dental interns and dentists (Clinical group) played the CDPC game, which consists of 16 scenes of clinical context about dentist-patient communication (less than 40 min for playing), via web browsers. Pre-test and post-test questionnaires were used to assess their motivation, beliefs, and self-efficacy to learn behavioral issues of clinical communication. The effectiveness was examined by comparing pre-test and post-test scores within-subject and between-group difference was compared between Preclinical and Clinical groups, via non-parametric statistical tests. Results: (A) In the Preclinical group, participants showed a significant increase in motivation and self-efficacy in learning after playing the CDPC game (p < 0.05, adjusted of multiple comparison). (B) In contrast, the Clinical group did not show a significant difference before vs. after playing the game. (C) After playing the game, the Preclinical group showed a significant association between motivation and beliefs (p = 0.024) and between motivation and self-efficacy (p = 0.001); the Clinical group showed a significant association between motivation and beliefs (p = 0.033). Conclusions: The current evidence suggests that gamification of learning helps preclinical students to understand the context of clinical dentist-patient interaction and increase their motivation and self-efficacy to learn behavioral issues of clinical communication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number78
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Dental education
  • Dentist-patient relations
  • Digital simulation training
  • Gamification

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