"Cracking Genetic Codes: A Genetics-Focused Escape Room for Experiential Learning" - Leandra Tolusso & Melanie Myers
From Melanie Myers on October 30th, 2020
Session 6 | 3:50pm | Room 3
Presenter: Leandra Tolusso, Genetic Counselor
Co-Presenter: Melanie Myers, Professor
Title: Cracking genetic codes: A genetics-focused escape room for experiential learning.
Description: We developed a genetics-focused virtual escape room (VER) activity as an experiential learning tool for genetic counseling graduate students and other genetics trainees. The VER included thirteen unique puzzles (e.g. jigsaws, crosswords, coded messages) that addressed important prenatal genetic counseling concepts. Graduate students completed the VER in pairs with the assistance of a facilitator. Students reported that the activity was an engaging study tool and helped them assess their strengths and weaknesses with the content.
Abstract: “Escape rooms” are popular games where a team solves puzzles to accomplish a goal within an allotted time, usually escaping from a complex situation. While most escape rooms are recreational activities, some have been created for healthcare provider education. We developed a prenatal genetics-focused virtual escape room (VER) as an experiential learning tool for genetic counseling graduate students and other genetics trainees. We began by identifying important prenatal genetic counseling concepts and subsequently converted them into thirteen unique puzzles (e.g. jigsaws, crosswords, coded messages). The VER was constructed online using Google Sites, Forms, and Drawings. Puzzle solutions were codes that could be typed into a form to reveal a hyperlink to the next puzzle, as well as hyperlinks hidden within images. The VER was then tested by five practicing GCs to ensure the content was correct and resolve technical issues. Twelve second year GC graduate students completed the VER in pairs via video call. A facilitator was present on each call to provide instructions, resolve technical issues, and give hints, as needed. There was no time limit to complete the VER, but students were informed that the fastest team would be announced as the “winners” to encourage friendly competition. After “escaping”, the facilitator and students had an immediate debriefing discussion to review any concepts they struggled with and answer any questions. Students completed pre- and post-activity surveys to rank their comfort with six concepts (such as those listed above) from 1 (not at all comfortable) to 10 (very comfortable). Their overall comfort increased after the VER (p=0.016). On the pre-activity survey, students were also asked to write a goal for the activity; goals identified included reviewing prenatal concepts, assessing current strengths and weaknesses, and identifying important topics for the American Board of Genetic Counseling certification exam. After the VER, all students reported they had accomplished their goal, and all agreed/strongly agreed that the VER was a helpful study tool. Students commented that the VER was “fun”, “interactive”, and “engaging”, and they appreciated having a study tool other than lectures and exams.Click here to return to the virtual conference agenda page.