Gaming as an Instructional Strategy in Nursing Education Term Paper

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Gaming as an Instructional Strategy to Enhance Baccalaureate Nursing Students' Learning

Nurse educators play a key role in preparing a future workforce of nurses to provide quality care that meets the health care needs of the population (the National League of Nursing [NLN], 2002). Nurse educators are responsible for facilitating student learning and evaluating outcomes. In 2003, the NLN stated that nursing curricula needed to be evidence-based, receptive to the needs of students, flexible, and incorporate current technology. To better meet the needs of today's students, an educator must become familiar with the characteristics and ways of preferred learning of today's learner. Recently, the NLN (2006) identified 72.1% of baccalaureate nursing students being comprised of the millennial or net generation. The millennial student was born between roughly 1980 and 1994 (Carlson, 2005). According to Tapscott (1998), educators must design a new method of how to deliver instruction to the millennial generation. The following eight shifts of learning were outlined by Tapscott that differentiated the millennial student from the previous generation's way of learning:

1. From linear to hypermedia learning

2. From instruction to construction and discovery

3. From teacher-centered to learner-centered

4. From absorbing material to learning how to learn

5. From school to lifelong learning

6. From one-size-fits all to customized learning

7. From learning as torture to learning as funDownload full Download Microsoft Word File
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8. From teacher as transmitter to teacher as facilitator.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Gaming as an Instructional Strategy in Nursing Education Assignment

The millennial student's are smart, impatient, expect immediate results, like to take control of their learning, and prefer active learning as opposed to passive learning (Carlson, 2005). Millennial student's enjoy working independently or collaboratively in groups, like creativity and structure, prefer professors that engage them in the learning process, and enjoy multitasking (Oblinger, 2003; Tucker, 2006). Because of its fun, active, and adaptive nature, gaming might be one instructional strategy that meets the needs of the millennial student.

In nursing education currently, content is increasing in quantity and complexity. With lectures, because of its mostly one-way communication medium, holding the attention of millennial students for an entire hour or longer to teach complex content is nearly impossible (Foreman, 2003). Lack of student attention inhibits immediate knowledge and retention of important content. Educators must confidently deliver nursing content which utilizes a research-based instructional strategy that enhances student's immediate knowledge and retention of knowledge (Mertig, 2003). Games have a way of engaging the learner and maintaining their attention (Foreman). Therefore, gaming may be an effective strategy to convey the increase in nursing education's complex content. A review of the educational and nursing literature identified gaming as one instructional strategy that may facilitate students' immediate knowledge and retention of knowledge.

Purposes of the Study

The primary purpose of this research study is to compare the effectiveness of two teaching strategies, lecture only and lecture with gaming, in baccalaureate nursing students' immediate knowledge and knowledge retention, using the concepts of arterial blood gases as the teaching exemplar. The secondary purpose of the study is to explore students' attitudes towards gaming as an instructional strategy in nursing education.

Statement of the Problem

Typically, baccalaureate nursing students are taught nursing content utilizing lecture as the main instructional strategy (Young & Diekelmann, 2002). With this instructional strategy, information is passively received by the nursing student and one's involvement in the teaching-learning process is limited (Eggen & Kauchak, 2001). Instructional strategies that encourage active student involvement in the learning of nursing content may be more effective in promoting student learning than lecture alone. According to Freeman (2003), active learning enhances critical thinking and improves student's skills. In addition, active learning increases student's interest thereby aiding in reinforcing content learned and retention of knowledge. Caruson (2005) stated "The use of active learning strategies can involve students with course material in ways that the traditional lecture can not." Active learning increases student motivation to learn, enhances student learning attitude, and improves on the student's responsibility for learning. When students are engaged actively in learning, they are more likely to bring about the higher cognitive skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of learning (Sarason & Banbury, 2004).

Gaming is one instructional strategy that promotes active learning in nursing education (Henderson, 2005). Literature suggests that gaming is an effective instructional strategy to enhance knowledge (Henderson); however, there is limited empirical evidence concerning its use in nursing education and in particular, teaching baccalaureate nursing students' the content of arterial blood gases.

Research Questions

The following research questions will be addressed in this study:

Is there an immediate difference in baccalaureate nursing students' knowledge of arterial blood gases when taught by an equivalent combination of lecture and gaming or by lecture only?

Is there a difference in baccalaureate nursing students' retention of knowledge of arterial blood gases after four weeks when taught through an equivalent combination of lecture and gaming as compared to lecture only?

What are baccalaureate nursing students' attitudes toward gaming after its use to enhance learning of arterial blood gas content?

Statement of Hypotheses

Baccalaureate nursing students who are taught about blood gases through the equivalent combination of lecture and gaming will demonstrate greater immediate knowledge of the content than students taught through lecture only.

Baccalaureate nursing students who are taught about blood gases through the equivalent combination of lecture and gaming will demonstrate greater retention of knowledge of arterial blood gases after four weeks than students taught through lecture only.

At least 75% of baccalaureate nursing students who participate in gaming method of instruction will have a positive attitude toward gaming as a teaching-learning strategy of arterial blood gas content.

Theoretical Framework

Malcolm Knowles Adult Learning Theory (1980) provides a framework for examining gaming as an instructional strategy to enhance student learning and knowledge retention. Knowles defines an adult as one who is performing adult-like roles such as a worker, a voting citizen, a spouse or parent. Adults also view themselves as responsible for their own life and take responsibility for making decisions (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005). Millennial undergraduate nursing students meet Knowles criteria of an adult learner. Individuals become adults at various rates as they move through various activities of childhood and adolescence, participate in organizations that foster responsibilities, and by attending college.

According to Knowles, the adult learner is in need of non-traditional ways to approach learning. In contrast to pedagogy which relates to how children learn, andragogy, the art and science of helping adults learn, is a term that grew in recognition in the 1960s and 1970s when Knowles popularized its use in the United States (Knowles, 1980). In Knowles' book, Self-Directed Learning: A Guide for Learners and Teachers (1975), the author defined self-directed learning as a process in which individual learners, without the help of others, construct their own learning activity. In particular, these adult learners are able to identify their own learning objectives, find learning resources, implement learning strategies, and determine their own learning outcomes (Leonard, 2002). Likewise, self-directed learning is an important aspect of Knowles' andragogy, in which the adult learner is self-motivated to learn on his or her own in order to provide improvements in knowledge and skills related to work enhancement and job promotion. Characteristics describe the adult learner as increasingly independent, self-directed, and an active learner with various life experiences that may impact problem-solving and decision-making (Cyr, 1999).

Knowles's (2005) theory of adult learning incorporates six assumptions or principles which support the use of gaming with adult learners. First, Knowles stated that adult learners have a need to know. Adult learners have a need to know because they are approaching new job roles or careers. In this study, undergraduate nursing students are broaching on a new career. Adults prefer to know why they need to learn something before learning it. As in classroom lecture, in educational gaming, learning objectives are stated either by the instructor or provided in written form with the gaming instruction. Objectives help to identify the purpose of the game. Objectives also provide adult learners with a sense of progress toward meeting the learning objectives during the game.

Second, Knowles (2005) stated that adults are independent and self-directed beings. According to Knowles, students enrolled in higher education see themselves as fundamentally self-directed and they identify with the adult role. Gaming allows the student, rather than the instructor, active control of learning and promotes independence. Learners participate actively by answering questions or problem-solving during a game. Gaming allows the learner to be self-directed and submit to learning. Learners who perceive a lack of self-directedness may react with resentment and resistance towards learning. Utilizing lecture only in the classroom may lead to learners resenting the instructor for imposing their will on them. In addition, when learners sense a lack of self-directedness, they regress back to their dependent "teach me" nature.

Third, adult learners incorporate new knowledge based on an existing foundation which has been previously developed through experience (Knowles, 2005). As an individual matures, experiences accumulate and a base to relate new learning to is formed. Active learning techniques, such as gaming, tap into learners' experiences and engage… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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