Development and Evaluation of an Oral Health Game-based Learning Application
Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness and user experience of a game-based learning mobile application designed to improve oral health knowledge (OHK) in adults, compared to conventional discussion-based learning.
Methods: An iOS mobile game-based learning application (‘Tooth Samurai’) targeted at parents of young children was developed, incorporating learning objectives relevant to Early Childhood Caries. A convenience sample of thirty adults were recruited and randomly assigned to either a gamification group - to play the game for one-week - or to a face-to-face discussion group, where educational material addressing the same learning objectives as the gamification group was provided.
All participants completed a 15-item OHK Questionnaire before the intervention, immediately after the intervention and 2-weeks post-intervention. Results were analysed using independent and paired t-tests to compare the efficacy of the two modalities in improving OHK. The usability and user experience of the game were evaluated using 5-point Likert-scale surveys.
Results: At baseline, the test and comparison groups presented no statistically significant differences in OHK (p=0.773). Results after the intervention showed that OHK improved in both groups immediately post-intervention and at 2-weeks post-intervention (p<0.001). Comparisons between groups showed no statistical difference in OHK immediately after the intervention or 2-weeks post-intervention (p=0.715). Overall, despite experiencing some technical difficulties, participants reported the game as easy to play and useful as an innovative method of learning.
Conclusions: Findings indicate that the game-based learning intervention was as effective as a conventional face-to-face oral health education intervention in improving OHK. The game was appreciated by users. Future studies could focus on adding more complexity to the game-based learning application. Additionally, to further assess the usability and effectiveness of the application, an evaluation with a larger sample of parents of young children is warranted