Virtual, Computer-Based World Is Effective for Health Care Education Researchers have demonstrated the potential of using a virtual environment to deliver distance health care education to an international audience that often has limited access to conventional teaching and training. In this pilot study, published online Feb. 21 in BMC Medical Education, the authors created a virtual world in which ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   June 01, 2014
Virtual, Computer-Based World Is Effective for Health Care Education
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Professional Issues & Training / International & Global / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   June 01, 2014
Virtual, Computer-Based World Is Effective for Health Care Education
The ASHA Leader, June 2014, Vol. 19, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB2.19062014.16
The ASHA Leader, June 2014, Vol. 19, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB2.19062014.16
Researchers have demonstrated the potential of using a virtual environment to deliver distance health care education to an international audience that often has limited access to conventional teaching and training. In this pilot study, published online Feb. 21 in BMC Medical Education, the authors created a virtual world in which 11 participants created avatars to navigate through a three-dimensional learning environment.
In many developing nations, access to traditional health care education can be limited by financial resources, or by living and working in remote areas with poor infrastructure or in a conflict zone. But with ever-increasing Internet coverage, distance learning has become a more practical way to increase health care professionals’ clinical and research skills. Still, according to the researchers—led by John Wiecha of the Boston University School of Medicine—online platforms like webinars and discussion boards are two-dimensional and limit the exchange of educational information.
To solve these problems, researchers created a virtual world—an immersive, online environment that functions in real time. Project participants navigated the virtual world as avatars—three-dimensional representations of themselves—and followed the course director through a series of learning stations with questions and discussions in real time.
“We created and delivered, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the Geneva Foundation for Medical Educational Research Foundation, an interactive lecture on population control for students from around the world,” Wiecha says. “The easy exchange of ideas with people from all over the globe gave the course a uniquely collaborative feeling. The program was successful and highly rated by participants, demonstrating the great potential for this new mode of highly interactive distance education pedagogy.”
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June 2014
Volume 19, Issue 6