Serious games and the covid-19 pandemic in dental education: An integrative review of the literature

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced faculties including dental schools into a ‘new normal’, where the adoption of remote or distance learning is required to minimise the risk of infection. Synchronous learning historically was favoured due to the perceived advantage of ‘real time’ interactions between instructors and learners; these interactions are not always possible in asynchronous settings. However, serious games can overcome this limitation of asynchronous learning. This integrative review explores the literature on serious games in dental education, to construct a conceptual framework of their strengths in this pandemic. Following consideration of inclusion and exclusion criteria, 15 articles on 11 serious games designed for dental education were included in this review. Our investigation points to an increase in the use of serious games since 2018. The findings of the review support the use of serious games in dental education during the recent crisis. Key strengths include positive educational outcomes, enhanced engagement and motivation, interactive asynchronous distance learning, a safe learning environment, and the advantage of stealth assessment. Conse-quently, the ‘new normal’ in education appears to support a very promising future for serious games, particularly in dental education. A conceptual framework is proposed to inform further research across all education settings and timeframes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Asynchronous learning
  • COVID-19
  • Dental education
  • Distance learning
  • Game analytics
  • Game-based learning
  • Integrative review
  • Remote learning
  • Serious games


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