The WAVES Project: Implementing usability enhancements to Virtual Patient systems

May21, 2018 10:40 AM – 11:30 AM

Luke Woodham, St George's University of London
Andrzej Kononowicz, Jagiellonian University
Inga Hege, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Dimitris Spachos, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Natalia Stathakarou, Karolinska Institutet
Daniel Schwarz, Masaryk University
Martin Adler, Instruct AG

Virtual Patients (VPs) are widely established as being effective resources for the training of medical and healthcare students, but there are a number of challenges which can discourage their uptake amongst both learners and teaching staff. Based upon a needs analysis of potential users, the WAVES (Widening Access to Virtual Educational Scenarios) EC Erasmus+ co-funded project has been developing a technical toolkit designed to help reduce the impact of these challenges and to make using VPs with learners a more “frictionless” experience.

The toolkit has focused on 5 key tasks to enhance some aspect of the VP user experience in two exemplar systems, OpenLabyrinth and CASUS. Mechanisms for supporting international audiences, languages and character sets, and a prototype for just-in-time help and support, have been implemented within the systems. Wireframe proposals for streamlined workflows to reach key system functionalities have been evaluated, and a prototype interface supporting responsive design for mobile devices has been developed to adhere to recognised good usability practice. Finally, the integration of a common concept map-based tool to support clinical reasoning exercises has been considered and developed.

The presentation will describe the outcomes and motivations for the work on the toolkit, and consider their relative impact on the user experience. The toolkit and our conclusions are of a general nature, and are thus transferrable to other VP systems.