Gamification in Medical Education

At the University of Illinois College of Medicine (UICOM), we have been exploring ways to liven up our educational sessions. With the advent of a new curriculum that has significantly fewer didactic sessions, and increased preparatory work by students leaves some holes to fill for face-to-face activities. One such example of gamification that we have employed recently is Kahoot!

Here is an example of Dr. Mahesh Patel using Kahoot! to encourage more interaction, and it proved to be a success.

We only use it sparingly, which I believe is why it is successful. Dr. Patel and I have worked together to figure out the best way to introduce it and when – the most success we have had with it is at the end of a busy week during a core case session. The students (and us!) are wiped out and it helps end the week on a fun note. We already use Poll Everywhere (probably too much), so this is a nice break from the ordinary.

Frontpiece image of an article by Bohyun Kim for an article she wrote called Learning with Games in Medicine and Healthcare and the Potential Role of Libraries
Kim, B. (2015). Understanding gamification. Library Technology Reports, 51(2).



There is a growing number of scholarly articles in the medical education literature about gamification, and I predict that will just increase. A wonderful colleague of mine, Bohyun Kim, has published extensively on this topic, from the perspective of the librarian educator.




Here are some peer-reviewed citations to check out:

Hicks, G. L. (2015). Gamification: Fuelish or foolish? Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 150(5), 1059-1060.

Kim, B. (2015). Understanding gamification. Library Technology Reports, 51(2).*

McCoy, L., Lewis, J. H., & Dalton, D. (2016). Gamification and multimedia for medical education: A landscape review. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 116(1), 22-34. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2016.003

McDougall, A. (2018). When I say ….. gamification. Medical Education, 52, 469-470.

*she wrote pieces for the entire report