Increasing student engagement using an Amazing Race–style competition

Emily F. Gorman


Background: Game-based learning is a successful strategy for teaching various concepts to students, from general orientations to more in-depth material. Pharmacy students in a first-year lab course were introduced to library and drug information resources through a lecture-style class in their first week of school, which was ineffective in terms of engagement. To combat this issue, the pharmacy liaison librarian advocated for moving this class session later in the semester and proposed a game-based activity to replace the lecture.

Case Presentation: “The Amazing Race: Drug Information Edition” was inspired by a well-known TV competition that involves completing several stages (called “legs”) of challenges to finish the race. The librarian developed questions designed to make students use various parts of the library website as well as two drug information databases. Students competed in teams, and the first three teams to complete the race were awarded small prizes. The race was first implemented in 2018, and modifications were made to the 2019 iteration based on student feedback.

Conclusions: Despite several challenges, the race was well received by both the students and the course instructors and increased engagement with introductory library and drug information material. The activity has enhanced the librarian’s relationship and collaboration with the course faculty and made a positive impression on the students.



game-based learning; drug information resources; library instruction

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