Scientific Knowledge Transfer Training Through a Virtual World

Scientific Knowledge Transfer Training Through a Virtual World

Ana Martin-Suarez (Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain), Juan Cruz Benito (Research Group in Interaction and eLearning (GRIAL), University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain), Jonás Samuel Pérez-Blanco (Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain), Mª del Carmen Gutierrez Millan (Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain), Aranzazu Zarzuelo Castañeda (Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain), Hinojal Zazo Gomez (Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain) and Cristina Maderuelo Martin (Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/jitr.2014040103
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Abstract

The aim of this study was to use the virtual world Second Life (SL) to perform a knowledge transfer training to Pharmacy students. The presentation of assignments of different subjects was organized as scientific congress communications. The activities were carried out at the facilities created at the USALPHARMA Island in SL. The content and format of these works, together with their oral presentation and interventions in debates were evaluated. These experiences provided adequate learning results and a high level of student satisfaction. This teaching strategy can foster development of creativity, critical thinking, communication, co-teamwork and digital competence. Likewise, it can facilitate teacher-student relations and relations among the students themselves. It also implies significant savings in time and money, since real facilities and equipment and physical movement of people are not involved. All of this encourages us to recommend this platform to host all kinds of conferences or scientific conferences.
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Methods

Virtual Facilities

SL was chosen among all currently available virtual worlds due to the following features: it is the most well-known virtual world platform and it is among the most usable ones; there is no charge for accessing it; and there are several simulation sites where pharmacists, nursing or medical students can practice through virtual equipment, procedures, or patients.

To develop this project we used the USALPHARMA Island of SL, where we have carried out activities to develop professional skills in undergraduate and postgraduate students of pharmacy since 2010. This virtual place can be visited in SL (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/usalpharma/128/128/20/). This island can handle simultaneously with 100 virtual characters (avatars).

Installations were created using SL building tools. Starting with basic shapes we can design the final aspect of each object by changing internal structure, size, texture, color, etc. Furthermore, it is possible to insert programs called “scripts” which endow them with functionality, mobility, lighting, interconnection with another virtual resources, etc. Teachers and students built the necessary environments for these activities without specific computer knowledge and with a minimum financial investment (See Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Avatar creating an object with the Second Life building tools

All the facilities were built trying to give the environment, where the congresses take place, the more realistic appearance as possible. In the Virtual Campus there is a multipurpose building where an auditorium, an assembly room and space for the display of contribution were constructed. Also, infrastructures to exhibit posters in open spaces and an auditorium were built (See Figure 2).

Figure 2.

Some of the environments built for the congresses: an auditorium (A), an amphitheater (B), an assembly room (C) and an exhibit posters zone (D)

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