Professional Pig Practice

Herd visits and/or real-life patient contact during educations as Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Odontology are extremely important for training of clinical skills.
However, these activities have a high cost since small student groups require teachers, clinical facilities and transport. Therefore the student confrontation time is very limited and the increasing student uptake on these educations only adds to the problem. This causes major worries among students that face professional contact with clients / patients after graduation.

A possible solution could be to provide a safe, virtual environment to practice such skills in an easy-accessible, interactive setting. Hence, the objective of this research project is to develop, document and test a game-based E-learning concept where students can visit virtual farms, interact with the farmer, examine the animals, perform autopsies and finally identify and diagnose the problem and suggest appropriate action.
The project will provide a well-documented concept, immediately useable in the Veterinary Curriculum and will constitute a model for future games within many disciplines

In the project, veterinary research and professional skills, pedagogical disciplines (didactics and learning methods) and computer science are combined.
The outline is a PhD study with main area in developing, evaluating and scientifically documenting (E-) learning principles. Using pig herds as model, learning modules of 20 important pig diseases will be developed.

In short, students draw a herd at random (with a well-defined disease or problem).
The visit (game) starts at the stable door where certain safety procedures should be applied to avoid contamination (change clothes, wash hands etc.).
There will be several possible lines of dialogue with the farmer, some leading to important clues, others not, By selecting a pig pen (point and click) a video sequence will show typical clinical signs and behavioural patterns of affected pigs.

Certain animals can be selected for closer examination and eventually autopsy where close-ups will be provided and students must notice and identify pathological changes. It will be possible to select material for laboratory examinations and receive the results of i.e. culturing during the visit. The visit is concluded by selecting the correct diagnosis and prescribe appropriate treatment and/or action. The game design resembles adventure- and simulation games and students obtain points by correct actions.