AUCKLAND U’s VIRTUAL MEDICAL CENTRE
Students learn those communication,
teamwork, clinical skills – virtually
Virtual simulation in an Auckland University, New Zealand, virtual medical centre training environment is returning similar results to a real life training facility at a fraction of the cost of a facility of that type, according to Dr Scott Diener PhD (Pictured at right).
Diener (SL: Professor Noarlunga) (http://scottdiener.edublogs.org), the university’s associate director of IT Services, an enthusiastic proponent of learning in virtual worlds and creator of the University’s Academic and Collaborative Technologies’ Long White Cloud Island sim in Second Life, made this remark in a YouTube video presentation on the Virtual Medical Centre.
The University of Auckland’s interest in virtual worlds is such that it has also taken up 12 islands on the ONGENS OpenSim Virtual World Grid (on the ONGENS Test Bed Facility), a start-up being run by Otago University and the University of Canterbury on the KAREN network. ONGENS (Otago Next Generation Networks and Services) is supported by the Global Network Interconnectivity Project which is funded by the New Zealand Tertiary Education Commission Growth through an Innovation Pilot Initiative.
American-born Diener (right), who is also a blue-water yachtsman, notes that to set up a similar training facility in real life, using mannequins, would cost something like US2.5 million.
In the SL Medical Centre simulation, however, Diener said, the instructor could set various similar simulations/situations that students teams had to diagnose and treat.
“Readings and charts change when someone becomes a patient,” he said, adding that the students, through working in the simulation, learned teamwork and communication skills alongside the clinical skills.
In the virtual ward, actors could sit in beds (as avatars) acting as patients with specific problems, he said. He didn’t mention it in the video but this means they can be accessed/interviewed/diagnosed by students and interns – and even working doctors needing to upgrade their skills – with access to Broadband internet anywhere but not the time to travel to New Zealand’s two medical schools, one in Auckland and the other in Dunedin.
“Participant take a survey to determine if virtual simulation provides comparable results to laboratory settings,” he said, adding, “So far, the virtual simulation is offering comparable results at a fraction of the cost.”
Filed under: Distance education, Education in Second Life, Education in virtual worlds, Second Life, SL Medicine, Virtual Worlds Tagged: | Diener, Distance Education, Medical, Ongens, Otago University, University of Auckland, University of Canterbury