Medical education of surgical and interventional techniques is a long and challenging process that takes place during graduate and postgraduate years. Traditional training based on tutor-apprenticeship models are now considered, as a general approach, to be subjective, time/resource-consuming and non-patient safe, and new structured programmes are being proposed to provide training and objective assessment in patient-free settings.
Technology enhanced learning (TEL) has been used in recent years to support these new paradigms: from virtual reality simulators/box trainers for technical skills to e-learning/augmented videos for nontechnical skills. However, there is no common EU pedagogical framework to guide their use, nor a TEL platform encompassing technical and nontechnical skills, and technologies are used depending on centres’ economical possibilities and funders’ choices rather than pedagogical value.
EASIER is a unique alliance involving higher education institutions and companies with leading partners in their respective fields that will, for the first time, bring together different training technologies to provide a multi-skills learning experience for surgical and interventional education. This Knowledge Alliance proposes an innovative solution for teaching and learning technical and nontechnical skills based on TEL. The solution will integrate TEL assets (virtual reality, augmented video, augmented box trainers, etc.), providing residents and mentors with a learning management system to programme training activities, have access to ubiquitous learning and monitor progress on their learning experience. The solution will be grounded on a previously validated learning framework, based on the pedagogical model developed in LLP project MISTELA. Through integration of different technologies, learners will have access to a comprehensive record of achievements and outcomes on both technical and nontechnical skills linked to any course taken.
Through its goals, EASIER will reach the whole EU surgical community to set the basis for a strategy on a common TEL-based programme offering structured learning and assessment. This will help standardize training across the continent, favouring mobility of professionals as well as the exchange and co-creation of knowledge in the field.