Can Gaming Increase Antibiotic Awareness in Children? A Mixed Methods Approach
Date Submitted: Jul 28, 2016
Open Peer Review Period: Jul 28, 2016 - Sep 22, 2016
Background: e-Bug is a pan-European educational resource for junior and senior school children that contains activities covering prudent antibiotic use and the spread, treatment, and prevention of infection. Teaching resources for children aged 7-15 years are complemented by a student website that hosts games and interactive activities for the children to continue their learning at home. Objective: The aim of this study was to appraise young people’s opinions of three antibiotic games on the e-Bug student website by exploring children’s views and suggestions for improvements, and analysing change in awareness about the learning outcomes. The three games selected for evaluation all contained elements and learning outcomes relating to antibiotics, the correct use of antibiotics, and bacteria and viruses. Methods: A mixed methodological approach was undertaken. 153 pupils aged 9-11 in primary schools and summer schools in the Bristol and Gloucestershire area completed a questionnaire with antibiotic and microbe awareness questions, before and after playing three e-Bug games for a total of 15 minutes each. The after questionnaire also contained open-ended and Likert scale questions. In addition, six focus groups with 48 students and think-aloud sessions with four students who had all played the games were performed. Results: The questionnaire data showed a significant increase in awareness for 2 out of 7 questions, while all questions showed a small level of increase. The two areas of significant knowledge improvement focused around the use of antibiotics for bacterial versus viral infections, and ensuring the course of antibiotics is completed. Qualitative data showed that the e-Bug game 'Body Busters' was the most popular game, closely followed by ‘Doctor Doctor’, with 'Microbe Mania' being the least popular. Conclusions: The conclusions of this study show that two of the e-Bug antibiotic educational games are valuable. The ‘Body Busters’ game effectively increased antibiotic awareness in children and had the greatest flow and enjoyment for children. The ‘Doctor Doctor’ game also resulted in increased knowledge, but was less enjoyable. The ‘Microbe Mania’ game had neither flow nor knowledge gain and therefore needs much modification and review. These games, especially the ‘Body Busters’ and ‘Doctor Doctor’ games should be promoted to schools and families. The results from the qualitative part of this study will be very important to inform future modifications and improvements to the e-Bug games.