Prognosis: An Interactive Digital Public Health and Epidemiology Adventure

  • Abstract

    The proposed Phase I STTR project will develop the serious game, Prognosis, and its supporting website to improve systems thinking and problem solving through learning about public health and epidemiology. Prognosis is a simulation game that focuses on the population health of the fictional city “Hexacago.” Through game play, players will learn how multiple ambient, citywide systems contribute to the population’s health—represented by quantitative health indicators. Students will be challenged to acquire and apply skills in systems thinking and problem solving to advance and win the game. A supporting website will be created to support this game’s learning objectives.

    This project will involve a collaboration with high school students at the University of Chicago’s Charter School: Woodlawn. This school serves predominantly African-American students living on the south side of Chicago. A multidisciplinary team from Resilient Games Studio, LLC, the University of Chicago’s Ci3 (Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health), and the University of Chicago will be engaged to develop and test the game and web-based curriculum prototype.

    The prototype will be created with input from a student-stakeholder advisory team of students as well as three teachers recruited from the University of Chicago’s Charter School: Woodlawn. Prognosis will be play-tested by up to 40 additional youth throughout its development.

    The resulting prototype will be evaluated by 50 9th–10th grade students. This evaluation will involve both quantitative surveys (n=50) and qualitative focus groups (n=21), and will inform a final iteration of the prototypes in preparation for a Phase II project.

    Public Health Relevance: Public health and epidemiology-based education has been noted for its ability to provide real-world context for youth to develop systems thinking and problem solving skills critical to success in STEM learning. At the same time, game-based learning has gained traction as a powerful pedagogical approach. Accordingly, this STTR project will develop and test a serious game and supporting website entitled Prognosis to improve systems thinking and problem solving skills relevant to STEM fields. This Phase I prototype will be assessed for usability, feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy in preparation for future development as a Phase II project.

Project Audience

High school students and their teachers

Subjects Addressed

Gaming, epidemiology, health