The creation and trial of a serious game to support teaching and learning of professional psychology competencies in postgraduate programs

  • Gillian McGregor The University of Queensland
  • Emma Bartle The University of Queensland
Keywords: Education, Technology, Engagement, Clinical competence


The education of healthcare professionals is critical for the safe delivery of services to patients (Ricciardi & de Paolis, 2014). Postgraduate psychology students undertaking a professional degree encounter a steep learning curve when transitioning from theoretical knowledge to professional practice. This beginning student stage of development is fraught with anxiety and high-stress levels, and has implications for both student and client wellbeing (Skovholt & Ronnestad, 2003). Successful navigation of this phase is critical to psychology graduate competence and employability, with potentially lasting consequences for psychologists’ perceptions of self-efficacy and career trajectory (De Stefano et al., 2007; Skovholt & Ronnestad, 2003). Serious games in health provide the potential for safe practice opportunities in an engaging and entertaining manner (Hawn, 2009; Knight et al., 2010). The author developed a serious game with the intention of providing postgraduate professional psychology students with increased and more convenient opportunity to practice psychological competencies. This paper synthesises game design theory into a prototype for educators to provide innovative solutions in a health context. It contributes to the body of research determining the efficacy of games in educational contexts and advances knowledge in the use of simulation pedagogies.


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Author Biographies

Gillian McGregor, The University of Queensland
Gillian McGregor is a Psychologist and Placements Manager for the Master of Psychology Program at the University of Queensland.
Emma Bartle, The University of Queensland

Dr. Emma Bartle

School of Dentistry

Lecturer and T&L Chairperson