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My inquiry eFolio for ETEC 533

  • Writer's pictureDr. Sarah McLean

Embodying the lessons from ETEC 533 by thinking about AR and embodiment

This week's readings connected me to a topic that has become increasingly important in my own practice- simulation. As part of my role as eLearning coordinator, I have been working with Schulich's Associate Dean of Learning with Technology & Simulation, Dr. Richard Cherry. I have begun to appreciate the importance that simulation plays in medical training, and the readings this week gave me the opportunity to think a bit more deeply about the pedagogy and impact of simulation. Take a look at my post below!

Can augmented reality better prepare medical students for surgery?

Of all the weeks’ readings, this week has been the most influential to my practice and raised the most questions for me. It’s been highly enjoyable! I found the reading by Winn (2002) to connect a lot of concepts in this course for me, and it also related to ETEC 530- Constructivist strategies for eLearning. Together, I was able to better refine my definition of knowledge and learning, and use this week’s readings to think deeply about an opportunity that I have to do some simulation in my own practice.

In ETEC 530 we focused on constructivism as a pedagogical theory to direct eLearning environments. At the beginning of the course, we spent a lot of time describing epistemology, and Winn’s (2002) reading reminded me of the discussions about knowledge that we had in that course. For example, Winn noted in his criticism of social constructivism that differences in knowledge arise because everyone has different experiences- not because there is no objective reality, and then he brought in the concept of “Umwelt”. Umwelt, the environment as a student sees and knows it, is changed through learning, which is the adaptation of a person with their environment (Winn, 2002). This concept made me think of a current project that I’m working on. Currently, I am a Co-Investigator on a grant to expand the opportunity of faculty members and trainees at my institution to use fresh cadavers for simulation. “Fresh” cadavers refers to cadavers that have not been treated with a preservative; in this way, their flesh is more life-like than preserved cadavers; fresh cadavers represent the highest fidelity simulation that trainees can use to learn surgical techniques. When I was thinking about the readings this week, I came across the idea of presence and its importance in the transferability and learning gained in virtual environments. This was highlighted in the work from Winn et al that compared the efficacy of learning in immersed vs. non-immersed environments with the Virtual Puget Sound learning environment. The participants in the study were undergraduate computer science students, and though the sample size was small (26 participants), the researchers showed that students in the immersed environment (complete with VR) performed significantly better on post-test evaluations than non-immersed peers. This made me consider the extent to which augmented reality could further supplement the students’ experiences of working with the fresh cadaver. Would it be helpful to use AR to transform the laboratory space into a surgical suite? Would this result in better learning? Virtual reality in surgery is not a new concept (take a look at the video link #1 (warning- a little graphic)

But, I wonder if this type of augmented reality with fresh cadavers would seem “gimmicky” to students. I was also wondering to what extent the AR may also result in VR motion sickness. Have any of my peers experienced any type of motion sickness with AR?

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