Virtual Health Care Learning Environments

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					Online Virtual 3-D Health Care Learning Environments
Margaret M. Hansen
Visiting Associate Professor UTS Associate Professor School of Nursing University of San Francisco

HISA Educational Meeting 12. February 2008

Are you interested?
• During the past year an increased interest in virtual 3-D worlds as learning spaces • You may find campuses within these virtual spaces • Flexible places for creative expression, learning, exploration, role modelling • Familiar virtual 3-D spaces are Second Life, Active Worlds, and There

You can live a second life…
• Second Life
– Created and owned by “residents” – Linden Labs brought it to “this” life in 2003 – Currently has 6 million residents from over 100 countries in “this first” life – Choose a new name; create a character, animal or even icon as an “avatar” – fly, dance, sit, open doors, swim, eat, etc. – http;//

What are they?
• An opportunity to
– Login and interact with a sense of „presence‟ – Social networking (Web 2.0 example) – Share rich media in a seamless manner – Creates a feeling of presence – Connection with the community – Connect with friends/business associates
• The 2007 Horizon Report • K.Boulous

So what is the link to education?
• Immersive environment where people meet, interact, explore, and construct knowledge • The Y and Z generations
– Y Gen (1980-1994): can‟t imagine life without technology – Z Gen (1995-2009?): addicted to technology – Learning styles include fluency in multimedia and simulated-based virtual 3-D settings, co-design of learning experiences, personalized to individual learning needs, communal learning – Dede (2003)

Pedagocial Potential?
• Second Life Education Wiki: Sim Teach
– “Second life provides a unique and flexible environment for educators interested in distance learning, computer-supported cooperative work, simulation, new media studies, and corporate training.” – “Second life provides an opportunity to use simulation in a safe environment to enhance experiential learning, allowing individuals to practice skills, try new ideas, and learn from their mistakes” – Moreover, students and educators may collaborate at a distance in a networked social community. – _Life_Education_Wiki

Theoretical Frameworks
• Jean Piaget‟s Constructivism
– – – – Active learning through interaction Reflects perception and understanding of experiences Learner generated Collaboration…knowledge is socially constructed

• George Siemen‟s Connectivism
– Wisdom of the crowds – Social networks

• Roger‟s Diffusion of Innovations Theory
– Academics adoption of new innovations?

Use in education?
• From English to Chemistry courses meet in Second Life • Emergency preparedness activities in Play2Train • The Advanced Learning and Immersive Virtual Environment (ALIVE) project at USQ

Examples in Education
• Healthcare • The Integration of Physiology Models with Avatars to Expand the Opportunities for HighFidelity Medical Training
– Live practice drills for disaster response simulated at the hospital and victims are human role-players

• Nursing Students Train for ED Environment in Virtual Online World
– Nursing students instruct their 3-D avatars to treat patients using real-life tools (IVs, oxygen set up, etc)

Examples in Healthcare
• Person-to-Person Interaction Demonstration: Patient Exam Role-Play
– Students may get the experience of interacting with patients and other healthcare professionals thru role playing in a safe environment – Following the role play students may discuss and reflect on their experiences and how it will shape their future encounters – resentationOutline.htm

More Examples
• Play2Train: An Idaho Bioterrorism Awareness and Preparedness Program

• The French Language Virtual Medical University • Attending Medical School in Virtual Reality

• The Centers for Disease Control
– Share public health information via “Hygeia Philo” (lover of health) –

And, more examples
• Genetics in Second Life
– Created by a medical student at the Univ of Debrecen –

• Virtual Hallucinations Project at Univ of California at Davis

Pros and Cons
• Pros:
– Multiverse environment that people may construct, play, immerse themselves, construct knowledge – Continuing education for students and health professionals – Obtain a land grant at Campus Life and give it a whirl – New learning environments for students and research opportunities
• Eg, Graduate students learning to become educators may develop their own classrooms, curricula, objectives, and learn how to collaborate, role play, build connections, play games, navigate streaming video/audio/YouTube, etc

Pros and Cons
• Cons
– Concerns with Internet addiction, trust/identity/privacy issues/pornography – Potential 3D navigation – User interface issues – Costs – Good scripted story and learning objectives

So what about learning outcomes?
• Research, research, research • Research Potential of Virtual Worlds: What environment for what methodology?
– 0/research-potent.html#more

• Research efforts begin with adoption of the technology • Interviews and ethnographic research methods are recommended

Do you want a second life?
• Well, many of us can‟t even get a first life • And, of course this technology may be too overwhelming for academics to adopt • Look forward because it is forecasted in 2 years this technology and „serious gaming‟ will be at the forefront of higher education • Perhaps we all need to get a second life avatar and „play‟ in the future playground of higher education

Thank you!
• I want to thank Denise Dignam and Doug Elliott at UTS for giving me the gracious space to research Web 2.0 technologies and to discuss the ideas that are roaring in my head for the future of healthcare professional education and development • And, thank you for your time and attention! • Contact: or • Podcast will be made available at

• Antonacci, DM & Modares, N. (2005) Second Life: The Educational Possibilities of a Massively Multiplayer Virtual World (MMVW) – LifeTheEducationalP/43821?time=1202781852 • Dede,C. (2005) Planning for neomillennial learning styles. Educatuse Quarterly, 28(1). [Online]. Available: =1.