The effect of educational games on medical students’ learning outcomes: a systematic review: BEME Guide No 14 Academic Article uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • BACKGROUND: An educational game is 'an instructional method requiring the learner to participate in a competitive activity with preset rules.' A number of studies have suggested beneficial effects of educational games in medical education. AIM: The objective of this study was to systematically review the effect of educational games on medical students' satisfaction, knowledge, skills, attitude, and behavior. METHODS: We used the best evidence medical education (BEME) collaboration methods for conducting systematic reviews. We included randomized controlled trials (RCT), controlled clinical trials, and interrupted time series. Study participants were medical students. Interventions of interest were educational games. RESULTS: The title and abstract screening of the 1019 unique citations identified 26 as potentially eligible for this article. The full text screening identified five eligible papers, all reporting RCTs with low-to-moderate methodological quality. Findings in three of the five RCTs suggested but did not confirm a positive effect of the games on medical students' knowledge. CONCLUSION: The available evidence to date neither confirm nor refute the utility of educational games as an effective teaching strategy for medical students. There is a need for additional and better-designed studies to assess the effectiveness of these games and this article will inform this research.


  • Akl, Elie A
  • Pretorius, Richard W
  • Sackett, Kay
  • Erdley, W Scott
  • Bhoopathi, Paranthaman S
  • Alfarah, Ziad
  • Schunemann, Holger

publication date

  • 2010