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14 Oct 2021

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University lecturer shares research showing the learning benefits of Kahoot! in medical education

Dr. Fatma Alzahraa Abdelsalam Elkhamisy, a lecturer at Helwan University Medical School in Cairo, Egypt, wanted to know exactly how using Kahoot! with her first-year Pathology students was impacting their academic performance and motivation. Learn what she discovered about implementing self-paced challenges as one of medical education resources to support continuous formative assessment.

Since Kahoot! was founded in 2012, higher education institutions around the world have been making learning awesome with Kahoot!, including 87% of the global top 500 universities. Two years ago, Dr. Fatma Alzahraa A. Elkhamisy—a lecturer of Pathology at Helwan University, Faculty of Medicine—joined this worldwide community of educators and began implementing asynchronous Kahoot! challenges with her first-year students.

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While Dr. Elkhamisy quickly saw how eagerly her students competed for the top spot on the podium, she wanted to see what the data said about how Kahoot! was impacting her students’ learning experiences and outcomes. This led her to conducting research and, with her colleague Rita Maher Wassef, publishing a study in Alexandria Journal of Medicine showing how regular Kahoot! challenges were yielding significant improvements in her students’ academic performance, engagement and motivation.

Discovering the Kahoot! experience

We were fortunate to speak with Dr. Elkhamisy about her research and experience using Kahoot! in her classes, and she shared that she was first inspired to introduce Kahoot! to her students after playing it herself. 

“I remember when I downloaded the app and started trying it out, I found it so amazing because the music was gorgeous and the countdown was so great. I realized I was playing a kahoot that was probably for children, but even as a university lecturer, I myself felt motivated by the competition. I thought, I want my students to get that experience.” 

As Dr. Elkhamisy writes in her research, medical students can feel overwhelmed by all they need to learn during their first years, while educators can find it challenging to teach such a large amount of content and keep students engaged in learning. She also explained that continuous formative assessment is key to ensuring that students are developing the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.

Dr. Elkhamisy continued, “I was thinking, What will my students feel while they are studying? Especially since most students don’t like taking exams and studying with regular practice questions. It feels like an overload for them. So I thought that playing Kahoot! would motivate my students, and actually it did!”

“Even as a university lecturer, I myself felt motivated by the competition. I thought, I want my students to get that experience.”

Dr. Elkhamisy, lecturer of Pathology at Helwan University, Faculty of Medicine

Boosting academic performance and powering engagement

After each of Dr. Elkhamisy’s lectures, students could either participate remotely in a synchronous Kahoot! session or complete the kahoot as a self-paced, asynchronous challenge. She explained, “This allowed students to reread what I explained in the lecture before applying what they learned in the kahoots.” Through the course, Dr. Elkhamisy compared the academic performance of students who used Kahoot! with those who did not, as well as inviting the students who used Kahoot! to share their experiences and feedback at the end of the term.

Her research showed that using Kahoot! enhanced students’ understanding of Pathology concepts by 83.6%, as well as improving knowledge retention by 87.3% and boosted students’ motivation and enjoyment of learning by 89.1%. More than half of the students who used Kahoot! earned an A grade, compared to one third of the students who did not. 

In their end-of-term feedback, over 90% of Kahoot!’ing students expressed that their interest in Pathology grew by playing Kahoot!, and that they considered Kahoot! helpful in strengthening their focus and knowledge retention.

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Medical students say “Game on” to learning

Dr. Elkhamisy saw firsthand how the friendly competition of Kahoot! sparked her students’ engagement. “Students go back to Kahoot! and answer and then retry again because they want to be winners!” she said. “This proves to me that students are very motivated and they will learn the correct information that I want them to learn! I never minded repeating the quiz, as long as students were studying.” 

To keep students’ interest high throughout the course, each week, Dr. Elkhamisy honored the new winners on their class learning management system as the “Kahoot! challenge champions in Pathology.” 

However, Dr. Elkhamisy took it a step further by announcing that she would name a top winner for the entire course, motivating students to keep participating each week to add to their overall scores. At the end of the term, she awarded the class winner with a special Kahoot! champion cup and celebrated together with the whole class.

“Using Kahoot! enhanced students’ understanding of Pathology concepts by 83.6%, improved knowledge retention by 87.3% and boosted students’ motivation and enjoyment of learning by 89.1%.”

Connecting educators and students—in the classroom or at home

Dr. Elkhamisy conducted her research two years ago and has been using Kahoot! in her classes ever since, including in virtual learning during the pandemic. “When the COVID-pandemic started,” she said, “the engagement of students was quite low. This has been the experience of many of my colleagues. However, when I started teaching with Kahoot!, the interaction was great. Even though they complete the challenge at home, they feel they are competing together.”

Thanks to Dr. Elkhamisy for sharing her research and experience! Want to read more research about the learning benefits of Kahoot! or submit your own? Visit our research page!

Learn more about Kahoot! for higher education and get started making learning awesome today!