Brant Knutzen and Neel Sharma
Simulation is not new. Its use in medical training is evident at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. We are all aware of the current literature stating its benefits in terms of feedback provision, safety, repetitive practice and adaptability. We’ve also read about the downsides: primarily cost, teacher recruitment and training, and from the student’s perspective, the lack of realism.
There remains the learning design question: mannequin vs virtual simulation – which one to go for, and why? Currently we know that mannequin-based simulation seems to be the tool of choice, with virtual-based simulation lagging in adoption. Both simulation methods offer similar and widely recognized benefits, although the implementation method may differ. We can all appreciate that the concept of simulation itself should not be about replacing reality: it can never replace a real patient or real life scenarios on the wards or in the primary care setting. Simulation serves a supplemental role: a learning tool aimed at transforming book learning to a more active form.
So rather than deciding which platform to go for and why, why not have both? The Hong Kong Academy of Medicine has appreciated that there are benefits for each method following the recent opening of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Innovative Learning Centre (ILC) for Medicine. They have constructed a virtual replica of their ILC simulation centre, so that more people can easily access and become familiar with the facility equipment. The Virtual Tour video employs an avatar to lead the viewer on a narrated tour: why not take a look for yourselves and let us know what you think!
Brant Knutzen, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong, see Brant.Knutzen.se
Neel Sharma, National University Hospital, Singapore