Given the COVID-19 pandemic, educators from many fields have looked to representations of pandemics to help students study topics the pandemic has accentuated. In the history of science, educators have explored inequalities in medicine, trust in experts, and responses to uncertainty. To help make these issues digestible, some educators have turned to the cooperative board game, Pandemic Legacy. Small groups work together to avert a global health crisis by managing disease. Teams play the game multiple times, but actions in one game have consequences for the next and rules change and develop as the game progresses. The game's development introduces students to new concepts at a manageable pace while giving them new problems to solve.
While the game effectively introduced students to topics in the history of science, this study sought to know whether it promoted cognitive and interpersonal skills. It focused on team adaptive performance, which is linked to problem-solving and communication skills. Data was collected using three surveys. Variation in teams' responses was analyzed using the Median test. The Friedman test was used to analyze each team's adaptive performance at each of the three timesteps. All teams were initially quite confident in their ability to creatively deal with unexpected events and reported that they adapted well to new tasks. As they encountered novel situations, some teams reported that their confidence decreased. They were newly aware that they did not have creative solutions to unexpected problems. Teams aware of their limitations performed better than those who maintained their initial confidence.