A Serious Game on Skull Anatomy for Dental Undergraduates

  • Ruaridh Dall
  • Daisy Abbott
  • Paul M. Rea
  • Ourania Varsou
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1262)


Knowledge of the anatomy of the skull and its bones forms an important part of the understanding required for the study and practice of safe clinical dentistry. The use of serious games in healthcare education is well-documented, but there is comparatively little evidence for their use in dental education. Intrinsically integrated rewards are a game mechanic that can be motivational for serious game users. A research gap was identified in the delivery of skull anatomy education to dental undergraduate students via a serious game with intrinsically integrated rewards. A serious game, titled Visualisation Studio Sim, was developed with Unity, featuring three-dimensional models and assets designed and modified with 3ds Max and Instant Meshes. Two versions of the game were built, one with the addition of intrinsically integrated rewards and one without it, and the game versions were tested by a convenience sample to gather open-ended feedback on the usability and suitability of the game mechanic for dental undergraduate education. Feedback suggested that it was straightforward to interact with the skull models but that the rewards were not as well integrated into the flow and immersion of the game as intended, and the game might not have been as challenging as desired for the intended cohort warranting future refinements in these aspects.


Dental education Pedagogy Serious games Scholarship of teaching and learning 



The authors would like to thank all the participants for their contribution to this study. The authors would also like to acknowledge that this research work has been previously discussed in Ruaridh Dall’s MSc thesis entitled “Does the introduction of intrinsic rewards as a gameplay mechanic increase motivation to use a game-based learning application on skull anatomy?” that was submitted in partial fulfilment of the MSc Medical Visualisation and Human Anatomy degree in 2019. However, the text has been significantly reworded with novel insights and discussion.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruaridh Dall
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daisy Abbott
    • 2
  • Paul M. Rea
    • 1
  • Ourania Varsou
    • 1
  1. 1.Anatomy Facility, School of Life Sciences, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life SciencesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  2. 2.School of Simulation and VisualisationThe Glasgow School of ArtGlasgowUK

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