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Game On! Utilizing Game-Based Learning for Literature Searching Instruction

Presented by:

Rachel Whitney, Medical University of South Carolina

Game-based learning was used to update existing active learning activities for literature searching and resulted in higher student engagement and positive feedback

Game On! Utilizing Game-Based Learning for Literature Searching Instruction


First-year pharmacy students lacked confidence in their literature-searching skills. The course instructor updated the existing active learning activities using game-based learning strategies. Game-based learning can immerse students into content in a fun and interactive manner. Literature searching is taught over two weeks and is divided into basic and advanced searching techniques. A crossword puzzle was created for basic searching techniques, and a virtual escape room was created for advanced searching techniques. Overall, the gamification of literature searching in this course resulted in increased student engagement with the content, increased assignment scores, and positive feedback after each session.


Game-Based Learning, Educational Games, Literature Searching


Explain how game-based learning can increase student engagement and learning.
Describe the use of game-based learning activities to supplement or replace traditional lectures.
Identify existing course content that can be enhanced using game-based learning.

Hear it from the author:

Game On! Utilizing Game-Based Learning for Literature Searching InstructionRachel Whitney, Medical University of South Carolina
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Audio Transcript:


Cain, J., & Piascik, P. (2015). Are serious games a good strategy for pharmacy education? American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 79(4), 47.

Gorman E. F. (2021). Increasing student engagement using an Amazing Race-style competition. Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA, 109(3), 478–482.

Oestreich, J. H., & Guy, J. W. (2022). Game-based learning in pharmacy education. Pharmacy (Basel, Switzerland), 10(1), 11.

van Gaalen, A. E. J., Brouwer, J., Schönrock-Adema, J., Bouwkamp-Timmer, T., Jaarsma, A. D. C., & Georgiadis, J. R. (2021). Gamification of health professions education: A systematic review. Advances in Health Sciences Education: Theory and Practice, 26(2), 683–711.

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