Computer games to teach hygiene: An evaluation of the e-Bug junior game
Handwashing, respiratory hygiene and antibiotic resistance remain major public health concerns. In order to facilitate an effective outcome when teaching the basic principles of hand and respiratory hygiene, educational interventions should first target school children. As computer games are ubiquitous in most children's lives, e-Bug developed computer games targeted at teaching children handwashing, respiratory hygiene and antibiotic resistance. The games were designed for two target audiences: junior school children (9–12 year olds); and senior school children (13–15 year olds). Between May and August 2009, the finalized junior game underwent an evaluation in three UK schools (in Glasgow, Gloucester and London), involving 62 children in the schools and ∼1700 players accessing the junior game online. The e-Bug junior game consists of a number of levels of play, each of which promotes a set of learning outcomes (LOs). These LOs, complementary to those in the e-Bug packs, are expressed through the game mechanics (the rules of the game) rather than through story or dialogue. Although the junior game's evaluation demonstrated a statistically significant change in the knowledge for only a small number of given LOs, because many children had the required knowledge already before playing the game, this is e-Bug's first statistical study on the junior game and the first comprehensive evaluation of its kind. Future work includes a re-examination of the quiz-style questionnaires utilized in this study and an exploration of the potential knowledge change acquired strictly through engagement.