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article imageHot Zone learning platform teaches about malaria

By Tim Sandle     Nov 1, 2016 in Health
As part of the drive for next generation medical education, researchers have developed a computer platform to teach children about diagnosing and treating malaria.
Not all medical education needs to hands-on or in the classroom. While text books have traditionally been used to enable learning, the digital health era provides new opportunities for learning. A newly devised platform called ’Hot Zone’ uses a virtual medic to teach trainee medical professionals about malaria. This includes diagnosis and treatment options for the infectious disease.
The platform is designed to take the trainee through different virtual hospital settings. Where a correct answer is given awards are presented (in the form of gold stars); if an answer is incorrect, a reason is presented as to why the answer selected is inappropriate.
One aspect of the platform is where the user plays the role of a clinician working in the emergency department whose patients include a 10-year-old girl who has just returned from vacation two weeks prior.
The avatar in the platform is played by Dr. Barbara Jantausch, who is an infectious disease specialist at Children’s National Health System. In communication with Digital Journal, Dr. Jantausch said: “This is the future of medical education”, extolling the possibilities of e-learning platforms.
Describing the functionality further, the medic adds: “It’s case-based, interactive e-learning where you choose your own adventure. The beauty of this module is the training can be self-directed.”
Learning about malaria is a key component of medical education. One reason for this is because the disease can, initially appear similar to other infections. A further reason is due to the extremely high number of cases globally — an estimated 214 million people around the world had malaria in 2015. Malaria is an infectious disease of humans (and other animals) caused by parasitic microbes of the genus Plasmodium; it is transmitted through a bite from an infected mosquito into the blood.
The use of e-learning platforms allows learning to be delivered faster. The e-learning platform allows for material to be updated, so the trainee is presented with the current thinking on the practice. It also fits in with the younger generation of medical professionals, who are used to accessing content on-line and many will have played computer games and are used to the immersive approach that comes with digital culture.
Other platforms are in development, designed to cover other infections, including Chagas disease and Zika virus. The malaria platform has been launched as part of Infectious Disease week.
More about Malaria, elearning, Learning, Platform, computer learning
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