Using online game-based platforms to improve student performance and engagement in histology teaching

Szabolcs Felszeghy, Sanna Pasonen-Seppänen, Ali Koskela, Petteri Nieminen, Kai Härkönen, Kaisa M.A. Paldanius, Sami Gabbouj, Kirsi Ketola, Mikko Hiltunen, Mikael Lundin, Tommi Haapaniemi, Erkko Sointu, Eric B. Bauman, Gregory E. Gilbert, David Morton, Anitta Mahonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Human morphology is a critical component of dental and medical graduate training. Innovations in basic science teaching methods are needed to keep up with an ever-changing landscape of technology. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether students in a medical and dental histology course would have better grades if they used gaming software Kahoot® and whether gamification effects on learning and enjoyment. Methods: In an effort to both evoke students' interest and expand their skill retention, an online competition using Kahoot® was implemented for first-year students in 2018 (n = 215) at the University of Eastern Finland. Additionally, closed (160/215) or open-ended (41/215) feedback questions were collected and analyzed. Results: The Kahoot® gamification program was successful and resulted in learning gains. The overall participant satisfaction using Kahoot® was high, with students (124/160) indicating that gamification increased their motivation to learn. The gaming approach seemed to enable the students to overcome individual difficulties (139/160) and to set up collaboration (107/160); furthermore, gamification promoted interest (109/160), and the respondents found the immediate feedback from senior professionals to be positive (146/160). In the open-ended survey, the students (23/41) viewed collaborative team- and gamification-based learning positively. Conclusion: This study lends support to the use of gamification in the teaching of histology and may provide a foundation for designing a gamification-integrated curriculum across healthcare disciplines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number273
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 22 2019


  • Collaborative learning
  • Dental education
  • Game design
  • Histology education
  • Knowledge retention
  • Medical education
  • Whole-slide imaging platform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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    Felszeghy, S., Pasonen-Seppänen, S., Koskela, A., Nieminen, P., Härkönen, K., Paldanius, K. M. A., Gabbouj, S., Ketola, K., Hiltunen, M., Lundin, M., Haapaniemi, T., Sointu, E., Bauman, E. B., Gilbert, G. E., Morton, D., & Mahonen, A. (2019). Using online game-based platforms to improve student performance and engagement in histology teaching. BMC Medical Education, 19(1), [273].