Category Archives: Education

Major Incident Simulations

The MISSIVE project (Major Incident Scenario Simulation in Virtual Environments) seeks to determine the feasibility of utilising virtual world environments as training adjuncts for major incident simulation.  The project has been funded by the UK Health Protection Agency.

What is the need?
An effective response is to a major incident is dependent on the training, preparation and co-ordination of the pre-hospital and intra-hospital facilities that receive and treat the casualties. There is evidence that many healthcare providers in developed countries are poorly prepared to deal with major incidents and that staff are not familiar with major incident plans or confident of their role in an incident. Importantly, major incident response requires a different skill set from everyday practice. Current training methodologies can be expensive, difficult to both organise and analyse, and are often inaccessible to many responders.

What have we done?
Imperial College have created three virtual world scenarios and environments to demonstrate the capability of virtual worlds in simulation of a major incident. The scenarios are currently being validated by users and experts. The scenarios demonstrate pre and intra-hospital response from both clinical and management perspectives. Participants are evaluated using validated clinical and non-technical skills assessments.

Details of the Research: NIHR Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality at Imperial College

Evaluation of the data collected, validation and proof of concept. The results were published in Resuscitation Vol 84: Dave Taylor Publications

What is the next stage?
Evaluation of the data collected should lead to validation and proof of concept. The results will be published in appropriate academic journals.

Our interactive workshop at The Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds Conference in Second Life on May 11th 2011 was attended by 50 people from around the world

 Click this SLURL to visit.

Further details
Here is a short movie clip illustrating one of the scenarios we developed for paramedics involved in major incident casualty triage and treatment.

• This poster, describing our virtual patient technology was a prize winning submission for the 2011 “Medicine Meets Virtual Reality” conference.


• Presentation at LEEF (June 16 2011): Summary


Clinical scenarios – training in a safe environment

Clinical Scenario Orientation

Medical devices are common technologies that the majority of healthcare professionals must be familiar with, and yet device associated incidents account for a significant proportion of medical errors. In this project the Department of Biosurgery and Surgical Technologies at Imperial College London designed, built and tested a scenario-based simulation in the 3D virtual world of Second Life. Our research illustrated the use of Second Life as a novel platform for immersive clinical training. Participants were able to learn and practice in a complex but safe environment where they could make mistakes without risk to any real patients. The project was awarded a ‘Special Mention’ by Linden Lab as an innovative virtual world project that improves the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world..

This walkthough illustrates the pilot project which was funded by NHS Training for Innovation:

A busy 6 months

Speaking at Handheld Learning in RL

Speaking at "Handheld Learning" in RL

NHS Confederation at the National Health Service Auditorium

NHS Confederation at the National Health Service Auditorium

Over the past 6 months I’ve spoken about virtual worlds at the following events:

Feb 19 2009: Design London at Imperial College Business School: Accelerating Innovation Cycle Time Through Innovation Technologies (IvT) Workshop where I introduced Second Life as a disruptive technology for design prototyping and visualisation; whereby anyone can experience and share 3D visualisations around the globe instead of needing to visit a particular high cost installation. I likened this to the democratisation of print that occurred with the advent of desktop publishing and of online publishing with Web 2.0.

Feb 11 2009: British Library: Digital Lives Research Project. Here I followed my frequent fellow panelists Ian Hughes and Ren Reynolds by introducing the SciLands and International Spaceflight Museum to ask the question “what do you archive if you wish to preserve the current social phenomenon of Second Life?”. The key here is that these are venues and despite the grandeur of their interactive architecture they serve as a (very effective) context for the rich social interactions and events that occur there. Jerome McDonough of the University of Illinois followed on by speaking about their project to archive the International Spaceflight Museum and other game/virtual worlds, and drew the conclusion that archivists need to engage with the virtual world communities and provide their users with the tools needed to preserve the culture.

On the same day, Feb 11th, Kate, Vishal, Robin, Ani and I ran a Second Life event for the NHS Confederation and the NHS Technology Adoption Centre, entitled Embracing Healthcare Technology and Innovation. I ran 800m after facilitating the SL breakout session at BMA House over to the British Library where I finished writing up the session while I was waiting to speak at the Digital Lives event (above). Given another 100 years of development I might be able to teleport that distance in RL. Delegates at this normally closed meeting were joined by over 70 virtual delegates from Finland, Singapore, USA, Canada, Norway, Italy, UK, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey and Serbia. Whereas the RL audience attended the whole of the day long event, our virtual delegates were able to come and go at will. Only 50% were present at any one time, but 35 people clocked up almost 1 hour’s attendance each. A poll of the RL audience revealed that just over half had heard of Second Life prior to the event, and that two thirds would like to see more NHS events use Second Life. Good news for the National Health Service Auditorium.

December 2008: I spoke at a conference on Government and Serious Games, organised by Futurelab and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). Here is a video of my presentation at the event.

The conference focussed on the role that serious games and virtual worlds might play in education, public services, and government policy. One outcome was to help stimulate new ideas for policy, business development and research to ensure that serious games and virtual worlds are recognised as a distinct cultural form with a role in public services. The day featured speakers from BERR and Futurelab as well as senior staff from Becta, DIUS, the Technology Strategy Board, Immersive Education, Caspian Games, Blitz Games, and the MoD. Keynote presentations were provided by Lord Puttnam of Queensgate and Tom Watson MP, Minister for Transformational Government, who argued that it is time to bring games to the heart of government. It was attended by key government departments and agencies, research centres, serious games companies, and the entertainment games industry.

November 2008: The American Medical Informatics Association in Washington DC hosted a featured panel titled ‘A Virtual World as a Healthcare Information Platform‘ to introduce members to the wonders of our projects in Second Life. James was in Washington and presented some of our work, then I led a tour through our Virtual Learning Hospital from the comfort of my living room in London. The session was run primarily within SL itself, and the audience in Washington were also treated to live presentations by Pathfinder Linden, Dan Hoch, Ramesh Ramloll and Dan Sands. After the conference Hibiscus Hastings (who blogged the SL conference) requested an interview and tour for an ‘onCNN’ article (vetted for use in CNN News coverage).

October 2008: The Handheld Learning Conference is billed as the international signature event for learning using mobile or ubiquitous technologies. This year I was invited to speak on a panel to help attendees understand the implications of Virtual Worlds and Social Networks for teaching and learning. Fellow panelists included Alan Welsman of Disney who spoke about the significance of virtual worlds for Disney’s family demographic (for example young kids playing on club penguin with their grandparents), my metaversangelist friend Ian Hughes/ePredator of IBM, Forterran Ron Edwards of Ambient Performance and Kurt Squire. We were joined for the panel discussion by dana boyd, fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society whose insistence on lower case typography for her name, reminded me of my Letraset days. dana’s research on youth’s use of social networking is insightful and her keynote presentation is essential viewing.

October 2008: Virtual Worlds Forum Europe in London

September 2008: Serious Applications of Virtual Worlds (Imperial College Internet Centre)

September 2008: Serious Virtual Worlds Conference 2008

For more presentations see my Presentations page in this blog.

Massively Multilearner, Enhancing Learning and Exponential Growth

Second Life is getting a lot of interest right now in the UK, and I’ve been too busy to blog about it.

In March I spoke at Dan Livingstone’s brilliantly organised ‘Massively Multilearner’ conference – which was mostly dedicated to Second Life. The videos of the event will be available soon and I will post a link to them here.

In April I spoke at a Becta seminar on Virtual Worlds, Simulations and Game-Based Learning, covering the many formal and informal educational uses of Second Life. The full seminar recordings will be available in a week’s time and I will post a link here. Dan Seamans of the Open University who helped me field questions blogged about it here.

In June I’ll be speaking about Science in Virtual Worlds at an event organised by the Royal Institution – this time I’ll cover the SciLands in more detail.

Last night the SciLands council approved membership of 4 further organisations, doubling the number of islands in this Science and Technology dedicated continent. I’ll post a map shortly.

I’ve been very busy with several SL projects which I’m keen to blog about when they’re done:

  • The Schome pilot, which just finished is well covered elsewhere.  I ran the Physics club with the help of two colleagues from NPL. Here’s a link to the Wiki.
  • I’m helping Imperial College build a virtual hospital for their medical school, and am particularly proud of our new style of machinima for illustrating future healthcare possibilities. I will publish these ground-breaking movies here when they’re released.
  • Nanotechnology Island construction is underway and we have some exciting new architecture and experiences in development. I’m looking forward to welcoming the Nanotechnology community to the SciLands now that the Space research community has blazed the trail.
  • UK Future Focus is an island for groups to help facilitate change in their organisations. It will have its own blog and I will publish the link here when its ready.

Second Life itself has doubled in size since my last blog – with over 6 million registrations and 3 million unique users to date. Some recent research has shown that people expect and get a high quality of interaction with other people in Second Life. I am especially interested in this emphasis on community engagement and our use of other Web 2.0 technologies combined with Second Life. The conversation is prolonged and we are never truly offline. Hence the phenomenon of twittering. There are other social networking tools that we have not yet used effectively in combination with Second Life (unless someone reading this can point me at an example) – for instance the alternate reality game of Perplex City which I have been thinking about in relation to scientific, mathematical and business-related problem solving and education.