The tooth morphology board game: An innovative strategy in tutoring dental technology learners in combating rote learning

Anisa Vahed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The difficulty of learning voluminous content in Tooth Morphology-Module 3 has proven to be extremely challenging for learners, particularly for those who are inadequately prepared, as it involves very high cognitive and abstract theoretical content. This is further compounded by the learner's anxiety toward the voluminous material. Subsequently this encourages rote learning and is often approached with much negativity as learners are unable to conceptualise their learning material. In an attempt to minimise learners' difficulty with this module critically required innovative ways of learning. One such intervention, namely the Tooth Morphology Board Game (TMBG) was developed for first year learners studying towards a diploma in Dental Technology. The TMBG was designed to promote literacy and improve the learner's ability to retain with understanding the content area of Tooth Morphology. Tooth Morphology is a discipline, which requires a significant amount of memorization, recall, association and application. The chief element of the TMBG is that the abstract content is merged with game characteristics and learners are able to repeat cycles within the game context, making them active participants in knowledge acquisition. Whilst educational gaming is gaining popularity in medical education, very little has been explored in dental education. The aim of this study is to introduce the TMBG in learning Tooth Morphology-Module 3 to improve learning voluminous content by learners' active engagement in tutorials. Data from the past two years of tutoring first year Dental Technology learners were used as a diagnostic tool to determine whether 1. the game assists learners in acquiring the literacy practice in their discipline 2. learners' performance in tests improved and 3. generic skills were fostered from playing the game. Module 3 test scores were further used to determine whether incorporating the TMBG improved learning. Data gathered by means of direct observations, questionnaire surveys and test scores were statistically analysed using SPSS version 15®and Nvivo (QSR, Australia) and showed that the TMBG impacted positively on learners' attitudes towards Tooth Morphology and served as part of an overall strategy to reinforce information presented in lectures. This report may be of value to dental educators who wish to offer a creative and interactive alternative to traditional tutoring or classroom activities so as to improve not only the recall of abstract knowledge, but also to provide a learning environment that fosters the acquisition of different skills whilst improving general skills.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2nd European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2008
EditorsMark Stansfield, Thomas Conolly
PublisherDechema e.V.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781906638184
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event2nd European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2008 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 16 Oct 200817 Oct 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Games-based Learning
ISSN (Print)2049-0992


Conference2nd European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2008


  • Active engagement
  • Dental technology education
  • Knowledge acquisition
  • Motivation
  • Skill acquisition


Dive into the research topics of 'The tooth morphology board game: An innovative strategy in tutoring dental technology learners in combating rote learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this