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Clinical Pharmacology Top Trumps for the gamification of student learning about medicines

A 2018/2019 Summer Studentship research project

Clinical Pharmacology Top Trumps will become an additional learning resource for Otago Medical School complementing existing learning resources. A well-designed learning game may increase student engagement and improve student learning about medicines. 

Student: Harry White
Supervisor: Associate Professor Matt Doogue, Dr Paul Chin, Professor Murray Barclay
Sponsor: TBC

Student prerequisites

A medical student with an interest in medical education, in design, and in medicines.

How to apply

Contact the first supervisor, Associate Professor Matt Doogue, to express your interest:

Tel +64 3 364 1055

Project brief


Gamefication has been shown to enhance learning. Effective learning games use two learning practices – retrieval practice and spaced retrieval. To be effective in a course, a game must be relevant to outcomes and increase student engagement. One such game is Top Trumps, where specific characteristics of a group are compared and contrasted. The key characteristics of medicines are well suited to Top Trumps. Otago Medical School has a core drugs list and our department has data for the key characteristics of medicines.


To develop and test Clinical Pharmacology Top Trumps game to support learning about medicines using the Otago Medical School Core Drugs List.


Key characteristics of medicines will be selected and used to design a template for Top Trumps Drug Cards. A Top Trumps pack of Drug Cards for the medicines on the Otago Medical School core drug list will be developed and made using validated reference data held by the department of Clinical Pharmacology. Clinical Pharmacology Top Trumps will be tested with trainee interns and junior doctors using mixed methods including focus group and structured interviews.

Student researcher’s component of the study

The student will design and develop the Top Trumps Drug Cards and pilot its use with staff and peers. The student will carry out evaluation together with supervisors and analyze the results. The student will be supported to present the project at a scientific meeting – although this is not required and would be outside the 10-week project time frame.