Using virtual reality or simulations in medical training can be a wonderful tool. Especially in medical situations which are difficult to replicate with possibilities of making errors during training. A recent prospective observational study on use of virtual simulation technology in emergency medicine is revealing of the open acceptance of such tools by young medical professionals.
Twenty seven EM residents of the Ohio State University completed mock oral examinations in a traditional format, conducted face to face with a faculty examiner. All residents were invited to participate in a similar case scenario conducted via Second Life for this study. The examinee managed the case while acting as the physician avatar and communicated via headset and microphone from a remote computer with a faculty examiner who acted as the patient avatar. Participants were surveyed regarding their experience with the traditional and virtual formats using a Likert scale.
None of the examinees had used SL previously. SL proved easy for examinees to log into (92.6%) and navigate (96.3%). All felt comfortable communicating with the examiner via remote computer. Most examinees thought the SL encounter was realistic (92.6%), and many found it more realistic than the traditional format (70.3%). All examinees felt that the virtual examination was fair, objective, and conducted efficiently. A majority preferred to take oral examinations via SL over the traditional format and expressed interest in using SL for other educational experiences (66.6 and 92.6%, respectively).
View Full Article with Supporting Information (HTML) ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2011; 18:559–562 © 2011 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
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The results of this pilot suggest that virtual worlds offer the potential of a new medical education pedagogy to enhance learning outcomes beyond that provided by more traditional online or face-to-face postgraduate professional development activities.