GAMIFICATION IN CARE OF KIDNEY HEALTH: THE EXPERIENCE OF THE OPEN UNIVERSITY OF BRAZILIAN NATIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM IN MARANHÃO – BRAZIL
Educational context has undergone several changes, mainly driven by contemporary lifestyle and fast progress in the field of computing and information and communication technologies (ICT), increasingly present and important in daily life. Therefore, the incorporation of such technologies in education became frequent, enabling a number of innovative and exciting experiences for the achievement of learning in various fields of knowledge. Within this scenario, Distance Education (DE) is highlighted as a type of education that thrives on technological advances and on sharp integration of human with computers and computer systems. Distance Education has broadened horizons mainly in adult education within undergraduate, graduate, and professionalization area. For example, for professionals with intense work journeys, that face difficulties to join continuing education, the facilities offered by distance education such as flexible working hours and place for studies represent a solution. In health area, such initiatives have grown considerably due to all these advantages. In Brazil, the government has focused on Distance Education to offer continuing medical education for professionals within the public health care network through the Open University of the Brazilian National Health System (UNA-SUS), which works in partnership with public universities in several states. In Maranhão, with the support of the Federal University from that State (UFMA), UNA-SUS has developed various mechanisms and educational tools to facilitate learning through Distance Education. Among them, it is possible to highlight educational electronic games, created by the institution to provide realistic and interactive study experiences, seeking to integrate specific play activities to make learning more dynamic, creative and fun. These games were developed because they are able to provide a motivating and attractive atmosphere for teaching by simulating practical situations, encouraging development of strategies and solutions, and decision-making, therefore contributing for the construction of concepts and psychomotor function stimulation. The games developed by UNA-SUS/UFMA match the storytelling genre, following comic book format, using the player interaction to complete the story. This paper aims to expose a game’s production process developed by UNA-SUS/UFMA to address all issues related to the area of Nephrology, subject of one of the courses offered by the institution. The object in question was developed using Unity3D graphics engine, which not only allows quick and easy implementation of multi-platform games, but also facilitates the creation of interfaces, gameplay mechanisms and animations, thus reducing the time required for development. There will also be listed the advantages of using the game in question to address on Nephrology, as well as potential weaknesses in the production and use of such learning object. The creation of learning objects such as the one presented in this work contributes significantly for the development of distance education, therefore cooperating for democratization and expansion of knowledge.