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MediLex: The medical jargon-busting game

Lookup NU author(s): Dr James Fisher, Dr Iain Goff


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© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Background: During their training, medical students are expected to acquire the ability to use thousands of new terms that make up the medical lexicon. Clear communication requires knowledge of this lexicon. We developed a simple word game, MediLex, to facilitate the development of these skills. This paper describes the intervention and evaluates students' experiences. Methods: MediLex is a card-based description game played in small groups. One hundred cards contain 500 medical terms grouped into five categories. The cardholder is asked to describe the terms on the card while group members have a limited time to deduce the term being described. Students were asked to evaluate MediLex using an electronic survey with free-text responses. Content analysis was undertaken by two independent researchers, and after discussion a consensus on themes was reached. Medical students are expected to acquire the ability to use thousands of new terms that make up the medical lexicon Results: MediLex was used on six different occasions. Sixty-eight students played the game and 61 completed the survey. Fifty-six out of 61 students deemed MediLex to be a valuable learning experience. The analysis of responses revealed five themes: 'highlighted knowledge gaps'; 'revision/reactivation of knowledge'; 'explanation skills'; 'fun/engaging'; and 'fast pace'. Discussion: Learning new vocabulary is a complex process, yet is a principle contributor to comprehension, fluency and achievement. Research suggests that playing games with content vocabulary allows learners to explore pronunciation and meanings simultaneously. MediLex allows learners to do this, whilst giving the opportunity to hear their peers' comprehension of meaning. Mastering the medical lexicon is a huge challenge because of the breadth and complexity of medical terminology, and focused teaching on this appears to be well received by students.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith S, Fisher J, Goff I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Teacher

Year: 2017

Volume: 14

Issue: 4

Pages: 273-278

Print publication date: 01/08/2017

Online publication date: 06/10/2016

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 1743-4971

ISSN (electronic): 1743-498X

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/tct.12547


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