Background: in gamification, we can use game design to build co-operation, commitment, and rivalry. It can be used at universities, also during classes. Obtained points, leaderboard and direct competition can effectively motivate participants.
Objectives: the aim was to familiarize students with the structure of Cochrane and the process of creating systematic reviews using gamification methods.
Methods: at the beginning of the facultative course of 'Methodology of systematic reviews', students were divided into four teams of two to three people. The course was planned for 30 hours and assumed the form of workshops. The students were offered participation in the game called “The Order of Cochrane”, which was voluntary. During the classes, students were awarded points for completing tasks related to the steps of a systematic review (such as formulating a research question, preparing search strategy, assessing the risk of bias). Those points could be exchanged for the currency of the game - ‘Covidence’. The playing platform was a board: a map of the world (Figure 1) with 18 Centres (black crosses) and 25 Associated Centres (white crosses; see Figures 2, 3, 4, 5). At the beginning of the game, the participants drew missions (for example, visiting all European Cochrane Centres, visiting Cochrane Centres on five continents), upon completion of which they received victory points. Victory points could also be obtained for visiting the Centre/Associated Centre itself. Additional possibilities were unlocked after certain achievements, for example, after completing the task about formulating a research question, the participants got a message, "You can build paths"; after preparing a search strategy. "You can build bridges"; or after assessing risk of bias, "You can buy ‘Risk of bias card’ or ‘Mission card’". These cards varied the plot and allowed the possibility of reversing the course of the game, thus sustaining the motivation to earn points.
Results: in penultimate classes we announced the results and the team that scored the most victory points won and was exempted from the final presentation of the results of the work. Teams in subsequent places could choose the form of presentation - flipchart, multimedia presentation or film. The feedback from students was very positive and many highlighted the attractiveness as well as the effectiveness of the game in motivating them to learn the process of conducting a systematic review.
Conclusions: the use of gamification has allowed us to increase student involvement, maintain interest in the subject, develop strategic elements and increase teamwork skills.
The teaching staff was involved in the process of creating the game. The theme of the game includes the Cochrane structure from the methodology of creating systematic reviews, not the medical one. That's why no patients or healthcare consumers were involved.