With the development of evidence-based nursing practice, nursing research courses are important in undergraduate programs. However, nursing research courses are highly theoretical, which is difficult for students to understand. Improving the teaching quality of nursing research courses is a challenge for educators. The objective of this study is to understand the learning experience and the effect of gamification teaching on nursing undergraduates, and to provide new ideas for nurse educators. A qualitative research design using individual semi-structured interviews is employed. A gamification teaching approach was applied in an undergraduate nursing research course over one semester at a university in Central China. Purposive sampling was adopted to select nine undergraduate nursing students who had recently completed gamification teaching in a nursing research course. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and analyzed using Colaizzi’s phenomenological method. The results indicated that three major themes and seven subthemes emerged from the interviewees’ experience: (1) positive attitude (e.g., acceptance with pleasure and flow experience); (2) self-perceived competence improvement (e.g., creative thinking, collaboration, and knowledge internalization and application); and (3) challenges of gamification teaching (e.g., learning pressure and rationality of game design). The gamification teaching mode based on the flow theory had a positive effect on the students’ learning experience in the nursing research course. It is recommended to improve the game design model and to enhance its effectiveness for classrooms in the future.
Flow theory is a commonly applied theory in experience research design. This publication applies principles of gamification based on flow theory, to gain an understanding of how these principles can be employed to improve the teaching quality within the context of undergraduate nursing programs.
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