There’s perhaps no field more dependent on learning by doing than Medicine. After their first couple years of study, medical students progress to clinical rotations at hospitals, where they shadow professional doctors in an apprenticeship model, learning as they observe and eventually taking on more responsibility. There will always, however, be a first time for trying any procedure – some of which are high-risk and extremely difficult. The demand in the healthcare industry is only projected to grow – by 2050, 22% of people in OECD countries will be 65 or older, and in need of more, and more advanced, care. Improved diagnoses and treatment, combined with higher numbers of people obtaining health coverage that includes a wider variety of conditions, are also driving the demands made of doctors. With an increasing demand for quality healthcare and higher safety standards, hospitals and medical schools are pressed for ways to ensure that the risk of mistakes is minimized and that new doctors are as well-prepared as possible to start their internships and rotations confidently.

In this context, the use of human body simulation in medical education has become particularly important. It allows students to practice procedures – both individually and in interdisciplinary teams – multiple times before attempting them on an actual human being. Until recently, medical simulations have relied on physical mannequins designed to reflect a limited range of symptoms, making it difficult for students to extend their practice. And while computer-based simulation has grown in use and popularity, it has traditionally been difficult for professors to scale and customize these simulations to the needs of their courses and learning outcomes.

At Smart Sparrow we believe that the best way to solve this is to design tools that support great teaching and that especially make it cost-effective to design active learning experiences such as those with simulations. These types of learning experiences cater not only for students but also for professionals that are already in the workforce. One example of how we implemented active learning experiences is working with Jones and Bartlett Learning to develop patient ride-along lessons for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).

Source: Jones and Bartlett Learning patient ride-along lessons for Emergency Medical Technicians.

Another example of academics working to address this challenge is the world’s first and largest healthcare teaching network – BEST. The Biomedical Education Skills and Training (BEST) Network, is a network of leading medical schools sharing cutting-edge resources and technology that other educators can use to help prepare their students for success in medicine.

Our platform empowers instructors to create interactive learning experiences so students can grasp difficult concepts at their own pace. Real-time learner analytics provides instructors actionable insights so they can improve their lessons and enhance their students’ learning experience. More importantly, it also allows learners to practice and develop high-risk and extremely difficult skills in a controlled and safe environment.