Effect of gamified perceptual learning on visual detection and discrimination skills in equine gait assessment

Sandra D. Starke*, Gregory C. Miles, Sarah B. Channon, Stephen A. May

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Visual assessment of equine lameness is an everyday veterinary task suffering from poor diagnostic accuracy. The aim of this study was to quantify the impact of the perceptual learning game ‘LamenessTrainer’ on skill development.

Thirty‐six undergraduate veterinary students engaged in four game modules teaching the assessment of fore‐ and hindlimb lameness. Computer animations of horses in this game displayed 0% (sound) to 70% (moderately lame) vertical movement asymmetry of head and pelvis. Performance, learning effects, diagnostic accuracy, detection thresholds and survey responses were analysed.

Following staircase learning, more than 80% of students reliably classified horses with ≥20% asymmetry for forelimb lameness, ≥40% asymmetry for simplified hindlimb lameness and ≥50% asymmetry for realistic hindlimb lameness. During random presentation, on average 82% of sound and 65% of lame horses were assessed correctly during forelimb lameness evaluation, dropping to 39% of sound and 56% of lame horses for hindlimb lameness.

In less than two hours, systematic perceptual learning through deliberate practice can develop visual assessment skills to an accuracy level comparable to expert assessors scoring the same animations. Skills should be developed further to improve misclassifications of sound and mildly lame horses, especially for hindlimb lameness evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Record
Issue number10
Early online date1 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Authors. Veterinary Record published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Veterinary Association.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.


  • General Veterinary
  • General Medicine


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