Turk Talk: human-machine hybrid virtual scenarios for professional education

Michelle Cullen, Nishan Sharma, David Topps
2018 MedEdPublish  
Virtual scenarios provide a means for creating rich and complex online cases for health professional students to explore. However, the response options available to the learner are usually predefined, which limits the utility of virtual patients. Using artificial intelligence or natural language processing to accommodate such flexibility is expensive and hard to design. This project description lays out an alternative approach to making virtual scenarios more adaptable and interactive. Using
more » ... nLabyrinth, an open-source educational research platform, we modified the interface and functionality to provide a human-computer hybrid interface, where a human facilitator can interact with learners from within the online case scenario. Using a design-based research approach, we have iteratively improved our cases, workflows and scripts and interface designs. The next step is testing this new functionality in a variety of situations. This report describes the pilot implementation of this pilot project. It includes the background, rationale, objectives, learning and educational designs, and implications for software development. The costs and time required to modify the software were much lower than anticipated. Facilitators managed text input from multiple concurrent learners. Learners noted a delay while waiting for the facilitator's response, but denied becoming frustrated. The implementation and use of this new technique seems promising for training and assessment purposes related to developing effective communication skills. This report also explores the provisional implications arising from the study so far. Turk Talk, a text-based chat, introduced as part of virtual scenarios, provides a practical, scalable, affordable means of providing natural language interpretation into scenario navigation. Learners and teachers readily adapt to this new interaction mechanism for virtual scenarios. . After over a decade's experience teaching undergraduate science, nursing, and medical students, he earned his doctorate in education in 2009, where his work focused on curricular change in medical schools. His current research interests focus on teaching and learning in medicine and the integration of information technology into medical education. David Topps, MB ChB, is Medical Director in the Office of Health & Medical Education Scholarship (OHMES) at the University of Calgary. He has over two decades of experience innovating in technology based learning, virtual scenarios, assessment techniques and mobile learning. orcid.org/0000-0003-3593-544X
doi:10.15694/mep.2018.0000266.1 fatcat:b65eo5ssmzaulghijh3xsnck3y