The Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London has been working on a virtual reality hospital to help students learn the mechanics of interacting with patients and working within the facility.
A group of third year medical students have been accessing virtual patients on a threedimensional respiratory ward in Second Life as part of a pilot study of game-based learning. A total of 24 students are participating in the pilot, which is comparing their knowledge of key data with that of 21 students taught via an online module.
On the ward, students have access to virtual patients with different medical conditions who they can examine and
provide different diagnoses for. Financial and hygiene issues are embedded in the delivery of each case. Students are given credit to buy different investigations, and certain triggers, such as not washing hands, will halt their investigations.
The organiser of the pilot project is Senior Learning Technologist Maria Toro-Troconis, who is completing a PhD in game-based learning within the Faculty of Medicine and Luleå University of Technology, Sweden. She says: “Imperial is one of the first universities in the UK to be trialling this sort of technology. It is a really exciting opportunity to show everyone within the College how applied game-based learning in a multi-user virtual environment (MUVE) can be used to enhance face-to-face teaching.
Initial findings from the pilot show that while students are generally receptive to working within the learning environment, they have problems with access and need time to feel comfortable interacting with the virtual patients. Maria explains that the virtual ward can become very crowded when students are working there at
the same time.
Here’s a video presentation of a bedside visit by a virtual doctor:
More from Imperial College London Reporter
Teleport to the virtual hospital (requires Second Life)..
(hat tip: ScienceRoll)