Acquisition of clinical skills is a form of experiential learning (learning by doing and reflection). However, there are limited opportunities to provide this type of learning virtually. Virtual learning is a learning experience that is enhanced through utilizing computers and/or the internet both outside and inside the facilities of the educational organization.
We have combined two previously developed and validated technologies: Gamified Educational Networking (GEN) and three-dimensional (3D) printing to create Virtual - Health Experiential Learning Platform (H.E.L.P.) to fill this gap.
Virtual H.E.L.P. is built on the principles of gamification (usage of game-based elements in a non-game context to engage learners and promote learning), observational practice, independent hands-on practice, and peer-to-peer feedback, and is delivered virtually.
GEN is a virtual learning management system that relies on principles of active observational practice, sharing of videos, and peer-to-peer, expert facilitated feedback.
How is active observational practice achieved? We use a combination of computer based video instructions (CBVI) and "spot the difference" approaches. More specifically, we use scripted vignettes of performances some flawless, and some with flaws. The learners need to watch all of the videos and pick the flaws using checklists and global rating scores.
Why share videos? In the lab or at home, learners can practice independently. However, we do not want them to develop bad habits, therefore every now and then, whenever they feel like they are ready, they need to "challenge" a test. This consists of capturing the performance and uploading it to GEN, where their peers and instructors are notified to provide feedback.
What about feedback? All learning theories agree that next to practice, feedback is the most important variable facilitating learning. Here, we employ a number of techniques: peer-assessments, peer-feedback, checklists, discussion boards, with or without experts. At present, most of our research focusses on the question of what is the best way to provide peer and expert facilitated feedback, and how does this interact with the types of learner and skills.
Where is the gamification in GEN? Gamification elements were recently introduced to motivate the learners. After endless cycles of user testing, our parsimonious gamification set utilizes three techniques:
Literature supporting the use of GEN:
Here we are summarizing key/selected papers from our research group published in the last 2 decades that led to the development of GEN, along with its predecessor OPEN (Observational Practice and Educational Networking):
Observational Practice and Computer Based Video Instructions
R&D in GEN
This is a video demonstrating the use of GEN. The demo comes from a recent research study with University of Montreal/CHUM group lead by Dr. Erica Patocskai .
Whether we drive a car on a road or a needle in the operating room, conduct a surgery or an orchestra we engage in highly skilled actions, which all require hands on practice to master!
Our lab is dedicated to develop, manufacture and validate inexpensive and customizable simulators using 3D printing and additive manufacturing techniques. Because these simulators are inexpensive, they are a great option to take home.
maxSIMbox is a simple and portable box containing a number of inexpensive, standardized and validated simulators. The unit contains storage, latching mechanisms for securing the simulators to rigid surfaces, and pivoting/tilting mechanism to adjust the working angle. The flexibility of the design and manufacture process enables the customization of many bench top simulators to ensure fit with the unit. The unit can be modified to fit any custom parameters (e.g. making it bigger to fit larger bench top simulators).
Most of our simulators fit in the SmaxSIMbox, which together with GEN makes a great package for hybrid experiential learning at distance (Virtual H.E.L.P.)!