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USING MYSTERY-SOLVING GAMES AS A LEARNING TOOL IN PRACTICAL CLASSES OF PHYSICAL THERAPY AT UNIVERSITY OF VALENCIA

Introduction:
New strategies in the teaching-learning process involve active participation of students instead of traditional master classes. Gaming has emerged as a very resourceful tool, being able to engage students due to its playful nature, and when properly applied becomes a very efficient way of teaching.

Practical abilities are crucial in the development of physical therapy students. Being able to apply theoretical knowledge in order to asses a patient or clinically reason what is going on is of great importance. Therefore, developing new strategies in training students in practical abilities is a challenging requirement for teachers.

Objective:
The aim of this work was to apply 2 different “mystery-solving” games as a part of practical teaching in the degree of physical therapy and asses student satisfaction and utility.

Materials and method:
The subject “Pathology and Therapeutic Approach of the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems” is a 6 ECTS credit basic formation given in the second year of the Degree in Physical Therapy. Students are practically trained in the initial assessment of patients and in the development of clinical data.

Two “mystery-solving” games were introduced in this training, one resembling the “Escape Room Challenge” and one using the process of the card game “Black Stories”. The “Escape Room Challenge” dynamics encompasses students to be placed in groups, and requires them to solve several mysteries in order to discover a secret password or number that enables them to “exit” the room they’re in. On the other hand, “Black Stories” games work with a narrator presenting a situation, and the rest of the participants have to ask questions that can only be answered with a “yes/no”. Participants need to figure out a specific answer for that situation by asking the correct questions.

After the intervention, students were assessed in their levels of satisfaction with this learning approach. The questionnaire was composed of several questions that could be responded using a 5-item Likert scale, and an additional open question was included for students to make their own suggestions. Utility was assessed with another questionnaire that presented several aspects like “convenience”, “comprehension”, “engagement”, “usefulness” and “helpfulness” and asked the students to grade all of this elements in a 0-10 scale.

Results:
Results extracted from both questionnaires reflect student satisfaction regarding the appliance of gaming in their practical abilities development and the utility of this user-friendly tools.