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June 04, 2007

Surgery Anyone? Virtual Surgery That Is.

As development technologies become less expensive and more available, virtual training will become widespread across a variety of different industries. The process will begin in areas that are very dangerous or expensive to reproduce and then will trickle into other areas of training. Before we know it, virtual training situations will be everywhere and learning and development professionals need to begin to consider how these are going to impact training programs now so they will be ready for the not-so-distant future.

Knee_surgeryI think an excellent example is surgery. Go to http://edheads.org and check out Virtual Hip Replacement or Virtual Knee Surgery.  While it is not the highest fidelity graphics, the concepts, procedure, drag and drop of instruments and other elements make it an effective tool for helping someone learn about the steps for surgery. It would be great for someone wanting to understand how the process works and what to expect.

Take it a step further and play Nintendo's Trauma Center:Under the Knife available for the Nintendo Wii game platform. The use of the Wiimote (wireless remote control that responds to your hand movements) makes this game a glimpse into the future. As you cut the patient, you must move the Wiimote properly, as you drain fluids, you must position the instruments correctly. You receive feedback in the form of vibrations and sound indicating if you performed properly.Virtual_broken_arm

It is not a leap to assume that one day, a scalpel-shaped remote can be created that links to a simulator and evaluates the pre-med student's ability to make a proper incision (they've already made tennis racket add-ons for the wiimote.)

Now, I am not saying that I want a doctor who has never made an incision on a real person to operate on me. What I am saying is that the learning curve to get the doctor ready to perform surgery can be dramatically reduced. And the same technology can be used for a mechanic learning to fix a car or an artist learning to hold a brush or a construction or production worker learning to hold a tool properly.

Instructional designers, trainers and learning professionals need to look at the gaming technologies available today and consider how they can be incorporated into the training programs of tomorrow. If we wait, it could be too late.

Karl Kapp is the Assistant Director of Bloomsburg University’s Institute for Interactive TechnologiesLogoggg_2 and a professor of instructional technology. See his own blog, Kapp Notes for information on the convergence of learning and technology. He is the author of the book Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning.   

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Comments

Nicole Forst

I know a couple weeks late on the commenting, but every Wed. night on Ch. 6 in Philly they do a segment Right Now on the net. I submitted the http://edheads.org link and they featured it this past Wednesday (June 13th).

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a lot of editors have started to understand more about alternate options, they will obtained a little cameras, spend some money to hire nearby residents and individuals across the actors within the facilities

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