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Students’ perceptions of an in-house developed pharmacy serious game for professional skills training
  1. Kevin Yi-Lwern Yap1,
  2. Shawn Ignatius Boon Heng Tan2,
  3. Kai Zhen Yap3,
  4. John Yin Gwee Yap4
  1. 1Department of Public Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Department of Pharmacy, Changi General Hospital, Singapore
  3. 3Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  4. 4Department of Information Technology, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kevin Yi-Lwern Yap, Department of Public Health, School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora VIC 3086, Australia; k.yap{at}; kevinyap.ehealth{at}


Background An in-house three-dimensional (3D) multiplayer online role-playing game was developed for professional skills training of pharmacy students. Students play the game in a post-apocalyptic world to save humankind from zombies. They solve virtual patient encounters through visual and motion-capture technologies. Their gaming perceptions and experiences were investigated.

Method A self-administered questionnaire obtained participants’ demographics, gaming interests, perceptions of game effectiveness, preferences on gaming elements and gameplay experience through the Game Engagement Questionnaire (GEQ). Pre-gameplay and post-gameplay assessments were tracked to assess student learning. Descriptive statistics and paired sample t-tests were used for analysis.

Results Fifty-five students were recruited. Two-thirds of the gameplay group (67.9%) liked the post-apocalyptic fantasy settings and heroic storyline (66.0%). Three quarters liked the modern setting (73.1%), authentic plots (73.5%) and plot animations (72.3%). Participants felt the game was effective in training health communication and patient history-taking skills (81.8%). Participants’ test scores for counselling increased from 66.1%±7.6% (pre-gameplay) to 70.3%±8.0% (post-gameplay, p=0.004). The highest scoring GEQ dimension was sensory and imaginative immersion (2.92±0.74).

Conclusion Students found the game useful for pharmacy professional skills training. With proper implementation, this game can become a useful tool to enhance student learning and gear them towards clinical practices.

  • simulation-based education
  • serious gaming
  • game-ification
  • pharmacy
  • virtual reality
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  • Contributors KY and KZY conceived and designed the study. ST and JY conducted the study. ST analysed the results. KY, KZY and ST wrote the manuscript. KY revised the manuscript. All authors agreed to the publication of the manuscript.

  • Funding This project was supported by the National University of Singapore’s Learning Innovation Fund-Technology (LIFT grants C-148-000-038-001 and C-051-000-028-511).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was obtained from the National University of Singapore (NUS-2165).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplementary information.

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