Today you get to know our Learning & Technology Expert Nadia. She has a huge Know-how and experience in the field of adult learning and gamification.
Let’s start with an easy question: Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
I’m a learning and technology specialist with almost 10 years of experience creating instructional strategies that utilizes technologies for the purpose of enhancing adult learning.
My background is quite diverse, having studied cinema, communications, advertisement, and multimedia, which finally led me to complete a Masters degree in Education and Technology.
How did you become involved with OSSimTech and what is your role?
OSSimTech wanted me to help them design a gamification strategy for their Sim-Ortho simulator.
What is gamification?
Several definitions have developed over time, but the one that I relate to the most is Kapp’s (2012) framework, which defines gamification as “using game-based mechanics, aesthetics, and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems”.
Once we started working together and I began to analyze our objectives directly (such as the learner’s reality), the mandate gradually evolved. While the goal of generating learner engagement always remained a top priority, we also started looking at a global learning strategy to consolidate the foundations of Sim-Ortho’s curriculum and a user-experience game plan.
How can this be done?
Learner engagement is complex. Over the years, there has been an incredible amount of research done to try and identify the best ways to promote it. When I design learning experiences, I strive to incorporate Kahn’s three psychological conditions, all of which are necessary to stimulate engagement: These are meaningfulness, safety, and availability. With that in mind, the structure for Sim-Ortho focuses on a significant skill-building learning curriculum, based on real-life performance metrics, and enhanced by game-based mechanics. We’re talking about real-time audio, visual, and sensory feedback, as well as challenges, difficulty levels, practice levels, retry and replay options, and manipulating anatomy structures in 3D… All of this, combined with the simulator’s intuitive hardware and software enhances the learner experience and increases its engagement.
Why focus on this?
Well, of course, OSSimTech’s ultimate objective is to ensure that orthopedic surgeon residents can transfer their acquired surgical knowledge and skills into real-life operating rooms quickly and efficiently. We want the orthopedic surgeons to provide the best patient care and professional help humanly possible. Sim-Ortho lets them do just that.
Based on your experience, what obstacles and challenges do you anticipate in implementing this new approach to train and teach surgeons?
All too often, new forms of technology are initially perceived as disruptive. Resistance to change is a natural challenge that arises when trying to push the boundaries within any professional, academic, or medical organization. When it comes to orthopedic surgeon residency programs, in particular, it will take time to shift from the dominant apprenticeship model to a competency-based model, but we are quickly moving towards that goal. The advantages that a virtual reality simulator presents for orthopedic surgeon residents are simply too effective to overlook!
How do you see people using the Sim-Ortho simulator?
To this day, it is almost impossible to formally evaluate surgeons’ hands-on competencies, such as their performance of various surgical procedures. This is especially true in the case of rare clinical cases. But with the Sim-Ortho simulator, all of this is made possible!
I see residents perfecting techniques on the simulator to get ready for O.R. time, even in between surgeries. As they revise and practice the same procedures, over and over again, they experience the realistic impacts of good and bad decisions. Meanwhile, surgeon mentors are able to evaluate the residents’ preparation to lead real surgeries, based on their performance in the Sim-Ortho simulator.
OSSimTech’s haptic feedback technology can replicate the applied force and resistance that surgeons are feeling when, for example, they manipulate tools to drill or cut through bones. This allows them to feel specific surgical actions, like cutting through the cortex of different anatomy structures, such as the femur or vertebras.
Everyone needs some time out, especially after so many questions. How and where do you reload your energy during your after work?
I am always biking to move anywhere, whether it is to get to work, getting my toddler from his daycare, which allows me to eat lots of chocolates! I also like to run and do yoga, it allows me to keep in shape. And for the rest, my little toddler keeps me pretty busy!
What do you hope to accomplish through your collaboration with OSSimTech? What do you think the future holds for virtual and augmented reality in surgical training?
When we talk with our many orthopedic surgeon collaborators here at OSSimTech, we dream big! Imagine surgeons wanting to practice or prepare for a complex procedure that they will need to perform the very next day, on a specific patient with a rare pathology. Imagine them going into a real operating room, starting the simulator, and knowing the exact actions that they are going to take on the operating table, using the patient’s personal imagery, imported into the software. Crazy, right? That is the best part of virtual and augmented reality! It is always at the service of practitioners when they need it and for the benefit of patient safety, every time.
 Dale, 2014; Deterding et al., 2011; Kapp, 2012; Kapp, Blair & Mesch, 2014; Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011.
 Kahn, W. (1990). Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at work. Academy of Management Journal, 33: 692–724.