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      Computer game-based and traditional learning method: a comparison regarding students’ knowledge retention

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          Educational computer games are examples of computer-assisted learning objects, representing an educational strategy of growing interest. Given the changes in the digital world over the last decades, students of the current generation expect technology to be used in advancing their learning requiring a need to change traditional passive learning methodologies to an active multisensory experimental learning methodology. The objective of this study was to compare a computer game-based learning method with a traditional learning method, regarding learning gains and knowledge retention, as means of teaching head and neck Anatomy and Physiology to Speech-Language and Hearing pathology undergraduate students.


          Students were randomized to participate to one of the learning methods and the data analyst was blinded to which method of learning the students had received. Students’ prior knowledge (i.e. before undergoing the learning method), short-term knowledge retention and long-term knowledge retention (i.e. six months after undergoing the learning method) were assessed with a multiple choice questionnaire. Students’ performance was compared considering the three moments of assessment for both for the mean total score and for separated mean scores for Anatomy questions and for Physiology questions.


          Students that received the game-based method performed better in the pos-test assessment only when considering the Anatomy questions section. Students that received the traditional lecture performed better in both post-test and long-term post-test when considering the Anatomy and Physiology questions.


          The game-based learning method is comparable to the traditional learning method in general and in short-term gains, while the traditional lecture still seems to be more effective to improve students’ short and long-term knowledge retention.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Digital Game-Based Learning in high school Computer Science education: Impact on educational effectiveness and student motivation

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            Exploring the potential of computer and video games for health and physical education: A literature review

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              The psychological basis of problem-based learning: a review of the evidence.

              Several potential advantages for students' learning are claimed for problem-based learning (PBL). Students in PBL curricula may be more highly motivated; they may be better problem solvers and self-directed learners; they may be better able to learn and recall information; and they may be better able to integrate basic science knowledge into the solutions of clinical problems. Although some of these claims find theoretical support from the literature on the psychology of learning, to date there has been no review of the experimental evidence supporting the possible differences in students' learning that can be attributed to PBL. In this review article, the authors examine each claim critically in light of that evidence. They conclude that (1) there is no evidence that PBL curricula result in any improvement in general, content-free problem-solving skills; (2) learning in a PBL format may initially reduce levels of learning but may foster, over periods up to several years, increased retention of knowledge; (3) some preliminary evidence suggests that PBL curricula may enhance both transfer of concepts to new problems and integration of basic science concepts into clinical problems; (4) PBL enhances intrinsic interest in the subject matter; and (5) PBL appears to enhance self-directed learning skills, and this enhancement may be maintained.

                Author and article information

                BMC Med Educ
                BMC Med Educ
                BMC Medical Education
                BioMed Central
                25 February 2013
                : 13
                : 30
                [1 ]Department of Physiotherapy, Speech-Language and Hearing Sciences and Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
                [2 ]Rua Cipotânea, 51 – Cidade Universitária, CEP: 05360-160, São Paulo/S.P, Brazil
                Copyright ©2013 Rondon et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article


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