2D Game-Based Nanotechnology Lab as an Enhanced Education/Training Pedagogy

Investigator: Jie Shen, University of Rhode Island

Scientific Theme: Environmental Health Sciences

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted education and training programs, and hindered research advancements in the fields of biomedical and health sciences globally. During the pandemic, remote synchronous, asynchronous, or hybrid learning modules have been quickly developed and/or adapted to deliver existing didactic and laboratory curricula as well as to support experiential/hands-on trainings. However, the transition to remote learning has undoubtedly made effective teaching/training through engaging students in active learning extremely challenging. Accordingly, the development of alternative remote or hybrid pedagogy is imperative to ensure experiential/hands-on education and trainings. Virtual pedagogy (such as virtual reality (VR) simulation and 2D gaming) that provides an interactive and engaging platform in which to learn materials, has tremendous potential to enhance student learning outcomes. Building upon our recent success in developing an VR Nanotechnology Lab module to improve students’ learning of nanotechnology-based drug products, it is now proposed to develop an 2D game-based Nanotechnology Lab to overcome the resource constraints and access limitations associated with the existing VR module. The effectiveness of traditional didactic teaching, 2D-gaming and 3D VR learning/training modules will be assessed through pre- and post-simulation surveys. The proposed novel 2D game-based Nanotechnology Lab will be used to support the delivery of existing curricula and experiential trainings to researchers and trainees within the Rhode Island IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (RI-INBRE) network and beyond. It will be available through secured university servers on a mobile device or computer, resulting in broadened accessibility and impact. It is anticipated that this novel 2D game-based online pedagogy along with its 3D VR version will significantly improve students’ learning on emerging technologies such as nanotechnology in the fields of biomedical and health sciences.

Human Health Relevance: The proposed research, in response to the RI-INBRE initiatives on innovative curriculum development, will develop a novel virtual education pedagogy to support experiential/hands-on education in the fields of biomedical and health sciences. The proposed novel 2D game-based pedagogy will enhance competency of students/trainees in the subject of nanotechnology-based drug products, which in turn will help improve public health.