Gamification of Learning About Diabetes

Learning about diabetes is a process. In school, we are given a lesson that results in a test versus with diabetes, we are given a test that teaches us a lesson. As diabetes educators, we use situational problem solving as one of the approaches to help patients figure out solutions to their challenges.

For the adult learners, learning needs to be focused on application: moving away from dependency to increased self-directedness, drawing from accumulated reservoir of life experiences, being ready to learn when new challenges appear, wanting to apply new learnings immediately, and finally, being motivated to learn by internal, rather than external, factors.

From my perspective, I just want my patients to feel good about their diabetes care more often than not. The feeling of accomplishment and knowing that they can start and finish a task that results in improvement of blood glucose in a short time, produces desire and confidence to do more. Those moments of taking a walk after lunch and seeing the blood glucose lowering from 180 to 150 within the 45-minute walk produces a “good feel” moment. Being aware of what can be done versus cannot empowers people to act on more achievable goals.

Gamification is a way to visualize scenarios of problem solving. Taking a task from the beginning to the end; experiencing what it feels like to successfully accomplish a task. While, at the same time learning in a fun, productive and visual way.

For Conversation Map learning, gamification has been foundational, as the Map tool has metaphors that put a patient in the environment of situational problem solving. Also, the visuals give patients permission to talk about what is relevant and important to them, which, provides a learner-focused experience.

The gratification is not only that it’s fun, but it is a process of real and serious education. For us as health care providers, gamification might be a new science as it allows for self-learning.  Typically, we are in control of the education process when working with patients. Gamification takes the control from us and gives it to patients.

What are your feelings about gamification as part of diabetes education?


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