DAARC – IMSH 2017 Best in Show

The Department of Veterans Affairs Simulation Learning, Education and Research Network (SimLEARN)  tasked Creative Veteran Productions (CVP) with developing a set of virtual and experiential learning games products for VA medical staff. These games and scenarios allowed for varying degrees of challenge complexity, integration of new content, and changeable learning objectives to offer a more holistic, dynamic and immersive experience for the users.

IMSH 2017 – Best in Show

The International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) is the world’s largest conference dedicated to healthcare simulation learning, research and scholarship, offering 250 sessions in various formats, from large plenary sessions to small, interactive immersive courses.

During the 2017 IMSH conference, the Department of Veteran Affairs Veterans Health Administration Innovation submitted DAARC (Airway Management) in the Serious Games and Virtual Environments Arcade & Showcase.  We are very proud to announce that our DAARC game won best in show under the Large Company category… beating out large companies with remarkable games in the competition. This was a significant achievement because CVP is a small business and this award not only solidifies our ability to compete against companies with very large resource pools, but outperform them  at a world renowned conference.

daarc_quarter_page_ad5Difficult Airway Algorithm and Rescue Cricothyrotomy(DAARC): The DAARC game was by far the most complex game developed under the SimLEARN effort. It comprised over one thousand (1,000) pages of storyboards, with over one thousand two hundred and seventy-five (1,275) logic points, and over one hundred and fifty (150) visualizations developed as part of the GDD. This game was based on the implementation of the Vortex Algorithm for managing difficult airways, and showed in detail the performance of a scalpel-bogie Cricothyrotomy. It included twelve (12) different cases of varying conditions and difficulty. The DAARC game detailed procedures and temporal decision-making skills in the context of Difficult Airway, Can’t Intubate and Can’t Ventilate (CICV) scenarios. These scenarios provide learners with visual cues, audible cues and Non-Player Characters (NPCs) interaction to emulate the stressful and emotional situations associated with difficult airway management. It included a group of NPCs in the room which the player must direct as required in order to aid her in the management of the airway.

vr-imageAs a means to add more realism to DAARC, CVP incorporated a Virtual Reality suite to help users feel immersed in the training program. By doing this, DAARC not only offers a higher degree of realism, but is also offers a “hands-on” approach for training medical personnel. In looking at the future of immersive 3D experiential training, CVP continues to pave the way for what it possible and achievable, while also democratizing 3D for even the most modest of training budgets.

Additional SimLEARN Gaming Products

calm_quarter_page_adUnder the SimLEARN contract, in addition to DAARC, CVP Designed, Developed and Delivered numerous gaming products. One of the games, Charge Nurse, focused on helping Charge Nurses resolve various case study events/scenarios they encounter on a daily basis (e.g. managerial topics, floor safety, patient care support, staffing assignments and medication management). Incorporating experiences and best practices from Subject Matter Experts across VHA, this game teaches learners how to maintain patient and staff safety while also managing the flow of the unit. Charge Nurse is a first-person player game with a variety of non-player characters and debriefing videos to bolster and enhance the user’s learning experience.

medsurge_quarter_page_adAnother game, MedSurg, focused on helping MedSurg Nurses with assessing and caring for patients over the course of a simulated 12-hour shift. This game helps Medical Surgical Nurses quickly identify conditions of a deteriorating patient in a MedSurg unit. CVP developed the scenarios in this game based on authentic conditions, procedures, and decisions of practicing Medical Surgical Nurse SMEs across VHA. CVP’s ISD team worked with the VA SMEs to create the scenarios, and ideate around Gameplay and Gameplay mechanics. This game included eight (8) multi-event scenarios that would happen during a MedSurg shift.

The Genesis and Future of 3D Serious Gaming

In order to get the most out of your company’s training budget, it is important to understand the starting point and evolution of 3D Serious Gaming from where it started, to where it is today, and where the future might take us.

clipart_imagesAs training and education began progressing into the digital realm, we first saw “gameful design” come onto the scene as a way to break up the monotony of the otherwise flat-delivery of information. Two-dimensional (2D) clip art, cartoons and rudimentary animations made the delivery of dry material more palatable, but it lacked any form of interaction by the learner. While it did change the way we approached training, it was simply a more creative and fun way to package and deliver passive learning materials.

In the evolutionary process, “gamification” began to set the stage for active participation in a virtual environment. This new style of training started to engage learners with fun and interactive features to help them better focus on the tedious material that was being presented. These “Gaming Elements” consisted of point-based and badging systems that allowed progression during a training session and even offered a hierarchy of merit for those that outperformed their peers (leaderboards). The gamification of training provided unofficial competition between employees and began to place greater emphasis on skills gamificationperformance and achievement during a training session. Badging and leaderboards gave visual representations of skills accomplishment and knowledge gained. Eventually, simple gamification of training content evolved into Serious Gaming, and the training and education industry began to completely change the way we viewed computer-based learning. As technology has become less expensive and more accessible, we have finally entered into the world of 3D Serious Gaming and Virtual Reality wherein learning is only limited by the imagination of what is possible.

With the future of 3D Serious Gaming upon us, and with so many options available, what sets one platform apart from another? For some, it lies within the realistic graphic design. For others, it is the “wow factor”. For Creative Veteran Productions (CVP), it comes down to packaging all of the above and applying the three basic principle of our core philosophy: Entertain. Engage. Educate. Having seen the early stages of computer-based training and having eagerly participated in its transformation into the world of 3D Serious Gaming and Virtual Reality, CVP has consistently maintained its focus on designing, developing and delivering training products that Entertain and Engage learners in order to Educate them on the topics and skills they need to acquire. We focus on both the Instructional System Design elements and the kinesthetic learning aspect in order to provide a powerful platform that delivers active and innovative ways to conduct training. At CVP, we not only believe in the possibilities of what training can become, we bring those possibilities to life and turn them into a Virtual Reality.

Experience the future of Serious Gaming today! http://www.creativevet.com/


“Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.”                                           

– Confucius, circa 450 BC

The Kinesthetics of 3D Serious Gaming

In 1962, Thomas Kuhn began promoting changes in basic assumptions and fundamental principles within the scientific community; today, this approach is known as a paradigm shift. Likewise, as advent technology continually revolutionizes the way human beings interact and learn, it is paramount to understand paradigm shifts as they apply to training and education.

The axioms of education lie within the fundamental principles of constructivism and constructionism wherein students create knowledge structures through progressive internalization of actions in which they consciously engage and reach their own respective cognitive potentials at their own relative pace. However, these axioms are predicated on the corollary of balance between academic pragmatics and performance application opportunities. In traditional classroom environments, read podium style instruction, it is difficult to give actual meaning to intangible concepts without correlating them to practical application practices. Meaning, active, hands-on application of knowledge provides experiential learning opportunities that support the fundamental principles of constructivism and constructionism, as well as reinforce intangible academic concepts that are delivered as passive information.

As technology becomes more democratized and accessible, it is possible to overlook the fact that computers are machines, not pedagogical methods. Specifically, new technology, such as 3D Serious Gaming and similar Virtual Training methodologies, is often met with confusion as how to apply it to time-honored pedagogical practices. In this regard, CVP assumes the next paradigm shift is upon us and we are taking the opportunity to demonstrate how these new technologies can enhance traditional learning and teaching methodologies.

In keeping with active learning principles (kinesthetic learning), Virtual Training, whether synchronous or asynchronous, provides a planned series of actions or events to invite the participant to process, apply, interact and share experiences as part of the learning process. As we continue to recondition existing technology to make it more efficient and flexible, we observe that participants, when they are involved in their learning rather than being passive observers, are more likely to master the information or concepts presented, apply them to their practice, and retain the information more efficiently. This is because our processes and platforms place less emphasis on transmitting information and more emphasis on developing participant skills via practical, relevant, real-world application (e.g. digital experiential learning).

Participant conducting medical training on CVPP’s Virtual Reality training system.

With the democratization of 3D Serious Gaming and Virtual Training technology, CVP is able to redefine the traditional classroom by providing active, kinesthetic learning without limitations. In our active Virtual Learning Environments (VLE), teachers and students are not limited to the constraints of what can be accomplished within the physical confines of a classroom. This is because teachers are able to provide simultaneous academic and performance-based synchronous instruction, and students are able to garner instantaneous connections to intangible and abstract concepts.

Moreover, we also understand the time-limiting factors that prevent full participant attendance in a virtual, synchronous training session, which is why our platform also offers an asynchronous solution for participants to conduct training in an independent capacity by allowing them to interact with Non-Player Characters (NPCs) at times that are conducive to their busy schedules. We accomplish this by incorporating testing dynamics and scaffolding principles into a given session that only allow participants to advance after meeting predefined thresholds of comprehension and understanding of the subject matter material. Meaning, in an asynchronous session that is absent a teacher or instructor who would traditionally guide a participant to meet objectives, our Virtual Training platform ensures the participant follows a logical flow of study in order to meet objectives in the same manner as if it were a live session with a teacher and other participants.

In the end, our Virtual Training solution ties in the aspects of kinesthetic learning, constructivism and constructionism while changing the paradigm of how we approach standard training and education. By redefining to conceptual notion of the classroom, we are able to help businesses deliver new information to their younger employees by offering a digital perspective that connects with the way the rising generation learns.

“Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.”                                           

– Confucius, circa 450 BC

Experience the future of Serious Gaming today! http://www.creativevet.com/

The Role of Serious Gaming in Secondary Language Acquisition/Learning

As a foreign language educator who holds an almost unwavering approach to traditional classroom learning, I often question the direction of today’s educational methodologies and wonder if they are doing more damage than good. When we, as foreign language educators, find new technology we immediately look at how we can integrate that technology into the classroom, but we often overlook the intricate details that matter most.

  • Was this technology designed for the purpose I am going to use it?
  • What are the limiting factors that will make this technology irrelevant after a few weeks/months/years?
  • What is the return on educational investment for trying to convince others to integrate this technology into the mainstream organization?
  • Will this technology teach students poor study skills?

These are very important questions to ask, and even more important considering Millennials, persons born within the two decades before the turn of the 21st century, will soon make up fifty percent (50%) of the global working age population… and they grew up refining the use of technology as part of their core physiological development skills. As these Millennials continue to enter the workforce and climb their respective corporate ladders, it is apparent there is absolutely no way around incorporating technology into the “classroom”, especially when that technology can make Secondary Language Acquisition/Learning (SLA/L) training more relevant, immersive and cost effective.

But, while Millennials will soon make up half of the working age population, what about those that have had to adapt to technology? As a member of the cusp’er generation, meaning I am in between the Baby Boomers/Gen X’ers and the Millennials, I can see the controlling generation slowly making room for the rising generations beneath them. However, how can the controlling generation pass the baton to the rising generation unless they impart their knowledge? And how can they pass along that knowledge unless it is done in a meaningful way that connects with how the younger generations learn?

Because technology moves almost as fast as the genius minds that create it, there is a large gap between “knowledge givers” and “knowledge seekers”. Those who have the knowledge and experience want to pass it along to the knowledge seekers, but technology often inhibits a seamless process because knowledge givers cannot fully relate to the technological medium through which knowledge must be transferred. Point blank, traditional classroom-style SLA/L is simply not compatible with Millennials’ approach to learning, but that is because foreign language training needs to be “active” instead of “passive”, and traditional classroom SLA/L training cannot offer any meaningful level of active immersion. Because our educational system is designed around the physical classroom, we have to find a happy medium through which knowledge and experience can be transferred.

The good news is that advent processes are democratizing the technology needed to modernize the SLA/L classroom, whether physical or virtual. In terms of 3D Serious Gaming, we are now able to use Augmented Reality (AR) in lieu of traditional Virtual Reality (VR), which is the keystone ingredient that is often misunderstood by those of us that had to learn about technology rather than growing up with it.

For years, classrooms have augmented physical, real-world environments with computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics, et cetera, and with the decrease in costs of AR, we can now envision merging real and virtual worlds wherein physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time (*see Microsoft Hololens). It is important to note that traditional VR is just now becoming affordable and widely available enough to enter the traditional classroom; however, AR is still in its infancy comparatively. Regardless of current cost and availability, we, as educators, must start to consider what that means for the future of Serious Gaming with regard to SLA/L. In short, training will no longer be limited by the constraints of the physical world. Very soon, we will be able to use the traditional SLA/L classroom in a way that connects with the way Millennials learn, and we will be able to do it in a much more cost effective manner than before.

While we see AR as becoming the norm for training, it doesn’t mean legacy SLA/L training will all of the sudden becomes obsolete. Instead, this is simply a new modality to deliver training. It will make academic and performance SLA/L instruction simultaneous by changing the way we see our physical environment, which will enrich the learning experience for the learners. This is because it will allow traditional SLA/L educators to remain attached to their physical classrooms while also allowing for richer, more in-depth teaching points in a more immersive, interactive and augmented manner. This point notwithstanding, the use of AR technology must be focused and purposeful. Meaning, there must an intentional design and reason for the technology to exist within the SLA/L classroom; it cannot be introduced without any cognitive foresight or anticipatory direction.

Understanding that technology cannot simply replace SLA/L academic classroom instruction, we do see how technology can supplement and vastly improve the practical application portions of career field curricula wherein teachers can assist learners with the hands-on application of a given skill and the technical language needed to master it. For example, Creative Veteran Productions (CVP) has built an English for a Specific Purpose (ESP) training course that uses VocAdemics to address the parallel non-disparateness between academic lexis and occupational vernacular that often hinders SLA/L. Meaning, ESL students become overwhelmed with and fixate on information that has no discernible or connected meaning between the multitude of concepts they are learning (both academic and career technical alike), so they require more “hands-on” skills training to help correlate practical application to academic concepts.

Of particular importance, amongst the foreign-born workers/job-seekers community, there is a lack of functional and job-based technical English language skills, which impacts their ability to fully integrate into the US workforce. In its most basic form, our English for a Specific Purpose (ESP) VocAdemic program allows job-seekers to develop their functional English language skills as well as their technical English language skills while refining the focus to specific trades or skills.

For example, in the construction trades it is important to make sure a “rough opening is plumb, level and square”. However, in mathematics classes, we teach concepts such as vertical, horizontal, parallel and perpendicular; these are the same concepts, but they are the academic lexical versions of their respective “on-the-job, occupational vernacularisms.” There is no direct correlation between the words themselves because we teach them as disparate singular concepts relative to each respective skill set, and, while students understand the use of mathematics in construction, they still view them as completely dissimilar concepts with no discernible relationship.

In this regard, when technology is focused to enhance SLA/L academic objectives through real-time performance interaction in a Virtual Environment, it helps expedite practical fluency and gives relevance to why the learner is participating in the first place. Within the ESL community, it is best summed up through a Confucius saying circa 450 BC, “Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.” By using VR or AR, we can accelerate the correlation of more intangible and abstract concepts, which drastically increases functional fluency.

To learn more about the SLA/L virtual learning concept, please watch the instructional video for our ESP Learning Games Construction Series: Framing.