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December 4, 2007

Creating a "culture" of simulation

After attending I/ITSEC last week, I returned to snowy Wisconsin and headed to a meeting with the innovative folks at the Marshfield Clinic. Marshfield is located in north central Wisconsin and is internationally recognized for its work in telemedicine. After our meeting, I had the opportunity to see their new simulation training center. The center currently has three "patients" that are remarkably life-like and incredibly sophisticated. In addition to simulating a number of emergencies and conditions, the actions taken by trainees is recorded and played back for debrief. Real IVs can even be inserted in to "veins" in the patients.

Patient Simulator

As we discussed the lab capabilities with the instructor, she made an interesting comment about the challenge of using simulations. She said that it was sometimes hard to orient people to take the simulation itself as seriously as they should. This often disappears after the scenario is underway but she said it would be beneficial to have a culture that is more accepting of simulation.

A brief video and more thoughts in the extended entry:


A short video of the infant simulator. The lips even turn blue if the infant is unable to breathe.

I noted that when designing a more action oriented form of learning, students are often resistant. We have been so well-conditioned to sit in a classroom or conference session and be passive that active learning is often seen as a chore. In some of the corporate training I developed, I found it was critical to prepare the learners for a new type of learning experience prior to starting the event. This expectation setting is especially important when mixing formal and informal learning activities.

When attending I/ITSEC last week, it was evident that the military has a very strong culture of active learning and simulation. Commercial airlines also have a strong simulation culture (the first flight simulator was built in 1929). How do we build these cultures in other areas? K-12, higher education, or medical education are all areas where simulation/games are not aswell-accepted. Does the culture only develop when the tasks have life-threatening or -saving implications?

Posted by Rovy at December 4, 2007 11:00 AM