Wednesday, April 21, 2010

e-Learning and Games in Healthcare

After six years in banking, I have recently returned to the healthcare industry. Thankfully, e-learning is prevalent in healthcare and very receptive to the use of games. Games are a fantastic way to challenge learners and keep them engaged and interacting with the content at hand.

Like many in e-learning, I am responsible for both design and development along with playing the role of graphic artist too. This is what I refer to as my "one-man workshop." I think some in our field who are also a one-man, or woman, workshop may shy away from the use of games in e-learning because of the level of resources and time required to produce a game. Yes, we do see some great games out there that required large teams of designers, developers, graphic artists, etc., but that does not mean we can not create  e-learning games too. For me it is more of a matter of scale and taking advantage of the resources that are available.

I have been able to produce what I call mini-games, which I incorporate into courses and occasionally use as small stand alone games. In order to be able to produce games, I keep them small and not too complex. This reduces both design and development time. I also rely on some great resources that help make the seemingly impossible Flash development possible. Here they are:

  • ActionScript for Fun and Games by Gary Rosenzweig - The last edition is from the days of Flash MX, but it is still a great resource when it comes to developing games that can be tweaked into e-learning games. Gary also has more updated resources online at www.garyrosenzweig.com.

  • Flashkit game tutorials - They not only have a good collection of game tutorials, but also provide the source files which help immensely in dissecting and learning the ActionScript.


Back to healthcare, here are a few articles on use of games and e-learning in healthcare I would like to share:

Here are also few examples of courses in healthcare/health sciences, including a few games (in bold), that I dug out of the Free e-Learning page:

It is very exciting to be part of an industry that sees such value of games in education and training. FYI: There is  also a conference next month (May 25-27) on the role of games in healthcare - Games for Health Conference. I won't be able to attend, but it looks great.

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