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Other news - Tuesday, 15 June, 2021

INCREASING STUDENT SATISFACTION WITH THE HELP OF DIGITAL LEARNING SPACES

Futuristic education development directions at the University of Pécs Medical School

Integrating AR and VR technologies, developing digital learning spaces and implementing the most modern technological advancements into practical education are an important part of the Pécs Medical School’s strategic plan as part of the PotePillars Learning Culture Concept. The goal is impressive: the creation of a modern, up-to-date, higher level theoretical and clinical medical course.

 

written by Gábor Szabó

 

The “Creating digital learning spaces” programme or project part is a part of the Learning Culture Concept pillar of the all-encompassing UP MS development plan, PotePillars. Its main goal is to modernise education by adding innovative elements, making education based more on practice and experience. Due to the complexity of the task, a wide cooperation between various faculty departments is needed, even involving the PTE 3D Centre and the Clinical Centre. It includes developing the necessary streaming system, outfitting the computer and other rooms of the new theoretical building, content development for education, effective use of 3D-printing and visualization capacities and the implementation of a unified user interface to connecting all of these. The longer term task of the workgroup is the practical testing of these modern solutions and even the objective rating of certain technologies.

The importance of new education content (mostly AR/VR) lies in their usability in both the base modules and the education of clinical subjects. In the base modules they can help create the three-dimensional viewpoints, and help with the spatial understanding certain structures and processes. In clinical education they provide an opportunity to show procedures and operations from the viewpoint of the doctor. This could be especially useful in cases where not even students from small groups would have the opportunity to observe the steps of a procedure and there is no option for repetition (e.g. examinations and therapeutic procedures with invasive tools, operations, gynaecological examinations etc.).

The current epidemiological situation gives this project an unfortunate actuality, since personal distancing is especially important now, especially during medical procedures. The implementation of these ideas is the task of the professionals of the Learning Arch project, including names like dr. András Komócsi, dr. Szilárd Rendeki, Zsolt Bencze, dr. Gergely Csaba, dr. József Farkas, dr. Péter Bogár, Mátyás Bene, Péter Hillebrand, András Szőke, dr. Péter Kupó, dr. Luca Tóth, Ernő Bognár, dr. Péter Maróti, Zsuzsanna Varga and dr. Zsuzsanna Füzesi.

The Learning Arch strategic subproject

“We would mainly like to increase student learning experience with the implementation of the new technologies. This means that we would supplement medical study materials ordered into content holistically with innovative technologies. These could be various interactive 3D content, 3D models, edited or realtime 3D recordings, annotated dicom recordings that are an incredibly important part of the medical training. To summarise: our colleagues are working on a study material development system that would allow us to organise various modalities of content into a unified study guide,” said dr. Péter Maróti, who has dealt with the practical implementation of developed technologies before joining the workgroup, for example with MediSkillsLab.

“The Learning Arch subproject joins the high quality education of various medical technical and non-technical skills into an “arch”, ensuring the realisation of a practice-oriented training. The implementation of former successes with small-group clinical education trials is an important point. It is also building on other elements of the Digital Learning spaces project, and innovative technologies have an important role (AR, VR and 3D-printing, e-learning solutions etc.). The subproject also includes mapping out possible education methods in connection with innovative medical technologies, maybe even integrating these into our curricula,” said Péter Maróti as summary of the goals of Learning Arch.

The most important characteristic of the content elements is that they are based on the commonly accepted Training and Qualification Requirements of medical schools, therefore the basic and preclinical knowledge is adjusted to the obligatory medical competences. The Learning Arch considers the practical aspects right from the theoretical knowledge of a skill and values constant practice and development of competences. The gist of the concept is that it makes the new education format interactive and intuitive, ensuring that participants acquire a skill at the highest level possible. The constant communication and professional discussion between clinical and theoretical experts is invaluable for this.

The new content types could supplement not only the thematic education of individual subjects, but also the vertical integration of knowledge. They could be inserted into the education of simpler and even more complex medical procedures, both in theory and practice. There are already prototypes available: working elements that were developed locally, at the university or the Medical School.

“Another goal of these developments our colleagues are working on is that we want to connect the clinical content (both audio-visual and special medical content) into the theoretical education building as well,” pointed out dr. Péter Maróti. “We see serious possibilities in the new audio-visual and education technology solutions built into the new educational building. We would like to expand this system, to have a user-friendly interface that allows us to connect such content, live or edited recordings into the education process. The same is true for POTEPedia, where the theoretical content would be perfectly supplemented by the interactive or innovative content. We have been of the opinion from the beginning that these systems should be compatible with one another.”

Technological background

The Learning Arch concept (connected to other workgroups of the Digital Learning Spaces) builds heavily on the following innovative education technology solutions:

  • AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) solutions
  • innovative education content handling system, e.g. POTEPedia (LCMS)
  • innovative education content editing systems, integrated content (M3DVision)
  • 3D models, demonstration tools
  • Simulation equipment

The necessary technological background can be provided by the Simulation Education Centre and the 3D Printing and Visualization Centre. The work is managed by Gergely Csaba and József Farkas, as coordinators of the subproject. The Learning Arch includes skills taught on small animal surgeries and cadaver surgeries, and also clinical practice itself on real patients, with the necessary medical supervision.

“There are two departments where we would like to test these tools: these are the Neurosurgery and Heart Surgery departments. From a clinical viewpoint, speed and simplicity are the most important. Of course, medical practice cannot be bothered at all by the recordings, and there will not be a professional media editor to handle the recordings for live screenings. We have to get the information to the students very quickly, somewhat pre-digested. Naturally, the live content can later be repurposed for edited education content, where they can be edited and further processed, but the system is mostly optimized for simple use and speed,” Maróti says about other plans to be implemented in the near future, adding that as with all new developments, the circumstances of implementation have to be carefully observed. “Reviews are invaluable, both from the user side and from students and educators, and also the colleagues in charge of daily operation of these systems.”

A practical example: education of a spinal tap according to the Learning Arch

The first step would be the acquisition of basic knowledge (e.g. anatomy). For this, the photogrammetry models of the educational dissections at the Anatomy Department would provide perfect basis. The completed schemes can be rotated, and there are short descriptions about individual areas and regions, letting users handle the material anywhere, allowing them to gain the necessary anatomical knowledge for future procedures. This part of the Learning Arch concept is managed by dr. József Farkas. The educational radiology recordings and the 3D models created from these would further help the vertical integration between base and clinical subjects, serving the Learning Arch concept perfectly. This could be followed by studying the theory of practical implementation, supplemented by the 2D or 3D recordings of the procedure from the viewpoint of the doctor. In the second stage of learning, students could practice and develop their manual skills on the simulators available at MediSkillsLab. The next step of the process is practicing the procedure on cadavers preserved in formalin or with the Thiel-method, or in some cases, on animals. Aside from acquiring manual skills, the simulation of communication situations during medical procedures could also be practiced.

The Learning Arch could be used in a wise scope of procedures, providing a good base and the necessary confidence for students that would allow them to complete a procedure successfully in real clinical surroundings, even on their first real operation.

Virtual gallery for the Learning Culture Concept:

“Our additional values” – Learning culture concept

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