Harbinger has been seriously involved in applying videos and simulation in medical education for sometime.
Medical education is a field that has long remained at the cutting edge of technology – both in terms of adopting technology as well as teaching technology. With the advent of e-learning technology, medical education has changed radically and rapidly. One of the newest techniques in e-learning is simulation, and medical education is definitely not lagging behind in the use of this technique to improve efficacy. However, the use of videos and simulation in medical education is quite different from the way it is used in other fields.
For one thing, with medical education, the stakes are much, much higher. Human lives are directly at risk. True, something going wrong with a mechanical product does put human lives at risk, but in the medical field, human mistakes can have lifelong effects on people, not to mention the direct risk of death of the patient. As such, medical education is serious business and simulation has begun making inroads in this field only through bluntly proving its benefits.
Medical students have long had a tradition of learning by watching and assisting star surgeons in the field. Many say that an internship is the most effective and important education that a medical student receives. However, the number of medical students has increased dramatically along with the number of operations being performed. As such, it becomes difficult for many students to watch a star surgeon in action. This is where videos have become indispensible.
Videos of surgeons performing operations allow these valuable lessons to be viewed by hundreds of students world-wide, regardless of time and place. No longer do they need to wait for a procedure to be performed, or pray that they get a chance to view their idolized surgeon at work. Videos are also being successfully used in patient education and continuing education in the medical industry, and are one of the first successful applications of e-learning technology to this field.
Simulation allowed interactivity and opened up the dimension that was missing in videos. With videos, students could watch and learn, but were entirely at the mercy of the camera angle and quality of the video. With simulation, it became possible for the student to interact and even attempt performing the procedure themselves, resulting in superior understanding and retention of the content. They could make mistakes and learn without having to face the risk and consequences that would be associated with making a mistake during a real procedure. That’s not to say that videos are no longer useful – the best results have been observed by using an effective combination of videos and simulation techniques. An example would be having the student watch a star surgeon perform a procedure and then attempt it themselves to reinforce the learning.
In medical education, practice makes perfect, and the blended method of videos and simulation is one of the best reinforcements of this adage. Many institutions are successfully using simulation in their teaching methodology, and it has found widespread appreciation in basic education such as first aid training.
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