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Löllgen, RM; Berger-Estilita, J; Rössler, LA; Mileder, LP.
Avatar and distance simulation as a learning tool - virtual simulation technology as a facilitator or barrier? A questionnaire-based study on behalf of Netzwerk Kindersimulation e.V.
Front Pediatr. 2022; 10: 853243 Doi: 10.3389/fped.2022.853243 [OPEN ACCESS]
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Co-Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Mileder Lukas Peter

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Background: Virtual simulation modalities have been implemented widely since the onset of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic restrictions in March 2020, as educators face persistent restrictions to face-to-face education of medical students and healthcare professionals.There is paucity of published data regarding the benefits and barriers of distance and avatar simulation training modalities. Methods: Following a 2-day virtual pediatric simulation competition facilitated by Netzwerk Kindersimulation e.V., using remote human avatars and distance simulation, we conducted a multicenter survey to explore the advantages and challenges of avatar and distance simulation among participants. We used a modified Delphi approach to draft and develop the 32-item online questionnaire with 7-point Likert-like scales (7 being the highest rating). Results: Twenty participants answered our questionnaire. Respondents indicated both a high overall satisfaction (median of 5.0 [Q25-Q75: 4.0-6.0] ) for avatar and distance simulation 6.0 (5.0-6.0), respectively, as well as a high achieved psychological safety with both simulation types (5.0 [4.0-6.0] vs. 5.0 [4.0-6.0]). The most frequently reported profits of avatar and distance simulation included the elimination of travel distances, associated lower costs, less time spent attending the education activity, and effective communication and leadership training, especially with avatar simulation. Most often named challenges were technical problems, limited reception of non-verbal cues and a spatial distance from the team/educator. Discussion: Based on the results of this pilot study, avatar and distance simulation can be employed successfully and appear to be good supplements to face-to-face simulation. Other studies are warranted to further explore the effectiveness of various types of virtual simulation compared to conventional presential simulation. We suggest using avatar-based simulation for targeted communication and leadership skills training and the application of distance simulation to bring simulation experts virtually to remote places where educator resources are lacking.

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