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The Virtual Radiopharmacy - a mindful learning environment

Objective

Radiopharmacy students are widely dispersed and training is limited by restricted access to specialised equipment and hazardous materials. VirRad will research and develop a technological solution. A synchronous virtual pharmacy laboratory is integrated with asynchronous communications. Innovative pedagogical strategies derived from a psychological theory and integrated with a multi-level learner model provides personalised learning for abstract skills such as 'learning to learn' or transfer of training. A knowledge management system integrated with the tutoring system enables patients to seek information and practitioners to learn within one community. Evaluation of social, psychological and technological developments, especially learning effectiveness and user acceptance, will be performed. This model of teaching and learning within a knowledge community can be generalised to other fields, and a methodology will be produced to assist in this.

OBJECTIVES
VirRAD has 3 objectives: the development of
i) an instructional design from Mindful-Learning theory;
ii) a multi-layered meta-cognitive learner model within the context of an intelligent, virtual reality enhanced, distance learning environment for vocational training;
iii) the embedding of this environment within an enriched learning structure that gathers together learners, practitioners and specialists in a knowledge community, using Radiopharmacy as the target learning and knowledge exchange area.

VirRAD will investigate the integration of: a personalised, yet social, learning environment; with technologies that explore protocols for communications between virtual reality and the facilitation of communities of learners; and learner modelling and instructional design. It will also satisfy the real needs of the specialised radiopharmacy community. The techniques, methodologies and the target-learning environment itself all provide exploitable results.

DESCRIPTION OF WORK
VirRAD aims to create a readily-accessible virtual-environment where the Nuclear Medicine community can meet to learn, exchange views, and discuss best practice. Part of this environment will address the particular needs of trainee Radiopharmacists, a sub-specialisation of Nuclear Medicine, through providing distance-learning material. This will be an intelligent learning environment, with courseware to a syllabus agreed by the European Association of Nuclear Medicine. It will overcome the economic and logistic difficulties in course provision for this specialist community. The learning environment will incorporate a number of multimedia resources, including a dedicated simulation-based virtual environment in which trainees may gain experience of operating equipment with potentially hazardous radioactive materials. This will be closely coupled with pedagogical assistance based on the theory of mindful learning and personalised through a multi-layered meta-cognitive learner model. This environment is accessible to practitioners as well as learners. Exchanges amongst members may be textual, or take place within the virtual world, thus adding value to communications. The verified theory of mindful learning will provide a novel development as it is transferred into a rigorous instructional design methodology. Combined with a fully developed multi-layered meta-cognitive model of the learner, it will provide a powerful learning environment capable of developing a learner's meta-cognitive skills. Acquisition of these skills is associated with learning transferable skills, such as 'learning to learn'. The project will develop formalisms to describe the learner modelling and produce documented methodologies for its novel features. An early prototype will be used for formative evaluation and a final demonstrator will be produced in a timescale compatible with evaluation of learning effectiveness by the target community of users.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

CANCER RESEARCH UK
Address
61 Lincolns Inn Fields
WC2A 3PX London
United Kingdom

Participants (7)

FH JOANNEUM GESELLSCHAFT M.B.H.
Austria
Address
Alte Poststrasse 149
8020 Graz
INSTITUTO TECNOLOGICO E NUCLEAR
Portugal
Address
Apartado 21, Estrada Nacional No 10
2686-953 Sacavem
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Belgium
Address
Oude Markt 13
3000 Leuven
RESEARCH ACADEMIC COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Greece
Address
61, Riga Feraiou Street
26221 Patras
THE UNIVERSITY OF LANCASTER
United Kingdom
Address
Bailrigg
LA1 4YW Lancaster
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA
Canada
Address
4126 Dent/pharm Centre
T6G 2EI Edmonton, Alberta
UNIVERSITY OF PURDUE
United States
Address
1063 Hovde Hall
47907-1063 West Lafayette,indiana