Background: Gamification is an increasingly popular method for enhancing student engagement during instruction. Given its success in a variety of educational settings, this concept created the basis of a new learning game for first year pharmacy students. Based on the reality TV show “The Amazing Race,” the activity introduces students to library and drug information resources. The purpose of this program was to increase student engagement in a library orientation session, which had previously been delivered as a traditional lecture-style presentation.
Description: “The Amazing Race: Drug Information Edition” was inspired by a popular TV competition involving “legs” where contestants have to complete tasks before receiving clues to the next phase. The librarian developed five legs, each with a series of questions that prompted teams of students to use specific library resources to find the answers. The first implementation in Fall 2018 involved 132 students (split into two groups to make the activity more manageable). Course instructors and teaching assistants were responsible for checking answers and passing out the question sheets for each leg, while the librarian answered questions and kept track of teams’ progress. The first three teams to finish the race received small prizes. At the end of the class the students completed a brief evaluation form. The activity was modified for Fall 2019 based on student and facilitator feedback.
Results: There were 112 responses to the 2018 evaluation, and 82 in 2019. The majority of students in both years indicated that they learned something new during the activity (93.6 % in 2018, 95.1% in 2019). Asked about the overall effectiveness of the class, most students rated it “Good” or “Excellent” (74.8% in 2018, 81.7% in 2019). Responses to open-ended questions contained a larger number of positive comments than negative ones.
Conclusions: Overall the reaction to this new activity was encouraging, with students in both years expressing that the activity was fun and engaging. Challenges included questions that had too many possible answers or were unclear in some way. The results suggest that the modifications made for the second implementation were successful in improving the effectiveness of the class. The session has also strengthened the librarian’s relationship with course faculty, which has led to additional teaching opportunities.