What is a virtual patient?
A virtual patient is an interactive computer simulation of real-life clinical scenarios for the purpose of medical and healthcare training, education, or assessment. The virtual patient narrative is usually focused on the simulation of the patient's story and the associated clinical developments and processes, which is used to inform learners on relevant basic and clinical sciences. The interactivity is usually focused on clinical management of the patient. This interactivity uses modern technologies and game-informed learning, and can include questions, specific decision-making tasks, monitoring of costs or elapsed time, written answers for text recognition etc. Virtual patients allow the learner to take the role of a health care professional and develop personal clinical skills through making diagnostic and therapeutic decisions. Their use is increasing in healthcare,in part because they provide an opportunity for students to practice in a safe environment, as opposed to apprenticeship models, which practice on the patient.
What is xAPI and why do we need it at all in VS?
Short cut for EXperience Application Programming Interface. It is a software specification for writing e-learning usage data (like e.g. open/close a modul/page) to storage systems called learner record store (LRS) in the xAPI language. Main objective is to have a central location where all major usage data can be collected from various systems so being able to bring together and analyze all data of learners. More information can be found on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experience_API, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experience_API. Data protection issues are especially discussed at this point in the EU because of GPDR (General Data Protection Regulation) which might have implications on storing and querying all usage data of learners. Carefully used introduction of xAPI could have a huge impact on the use of meaningful learning analytics within organisations.
What are the benefits of scenario-based learning (SBL)?
Virtual scenarios are online educational resources which help learners explore real world decisions, making both good judgements and errors in a safe environment. Using Virtual Scenarios students professionals prepare themselves to deal with a range of workplace challenges, cultivating critical thinking and decision-making skills. Moreover, well-designed scenarios preserve learners’ interest and fuel their intrinsic motivation. SBL makes the training procedure more active, fun, engaging, and effective, while it also makes training experiential, allowing for periods of reflection. Furthermore, Scenario-Based Learning is a form of Storytelling: Storytelling is a longstanding method of relaying information, which improves trainees’ retention. Also, SLB is learner-oriented, since advanced branching scenarios specifically allow different learners to follow different journeys to access the learning experiences most relevant to them.
What is better, a linear, semi-linear or branched virtual scenario?
The not simple answer is: It depends! The educational setting has an impact, resources for creation, system, etc.. Linear virtual scenarios sometimes are easier to create, referring to different options and paths i still possible in a linear VS. A branched VS might be more exciting for the participant, the stories and decision points have to be designed carefully to not let users get frustrated choosing a problematic path. One important educational aspect could be whether users work is discussed later in face to face sessions, or it’s completely self paced learning without any feedback. Overall the difference seems to be less critical than you might think of. Please also have in mind, that learners very often want to see everything, so make sure users have the option at the end to see also paths they didn’t choose initially, this is already all set in linear or semi-linear approaches. Good storytelling is important for both variants. VS scenarios are tools, you have to get used to these, so also take the one which is easier for you!
What systems are there to create VS? Are they free?
There are a number of systems you can use to create virtual scenarios, in the WAVES project we are using two exemplar systems called CASUS and OpenLabyrinth. However if you are having a first go at this you might want to look into using simple tools to try the concept first. You can find details on these here. Once you have tried developing a scenario using one of the simple tools you can then look into using specific tools developed for authoring and delivering virtual scenarios like the two exemplar systems or DecisionSim, Articulate, Web-SP, and CAMPUS.
Some of these software are open-source, which means you need to download and install the software yourself, others can be accessed via a free trial period and others require you to pay into a licensing fee. Some of these software have been developed by educationalist so it worth getting in touch with them to discuss access.
Where can i find examples of virtual scenarios?
Through the WAVES project the partners have made a number of their virtual scenarios public for you to see and use. These can be found here.
What is a virtual scenario (VS)?
Virtual Scenarios are online simulation of situations or challenges for the purpose of teaching or training. Virtual scenarios can be created for any discipline or topic where the person playing the scenario has to make decisions or choices. A typical and well known version of virtual scenarios are Virtual patients which are scenarios based around patient cases.
What is scenario-based learning (SBL)?
Scenario-based learning is a method to teach or train through a realistic situation, challenge or problem. This can be delivered in a number of different ways, such as online, through role playing or via gaming software.