Leading the way in Simulation

How ECPI University Uses Technology to Prepare Students for the Real Thing

There is little doubt, this is an exciting time to be both a student and a teacher. With rapid advances in technology, it seems new opportunities pop up most every day – opportunities to enhance learning and develop important skills. As an institution dedicated to educational excellence, ECPI University has long been a leader in classroom and online technology. Simulation is no exception.

“The latest wave of advancements began with the evolution of tablets, apps, and headsets like Google Glass,” says ECPI University Associate Dean of Academic Technology Gerry White. “Given the significant improvements in software development, we can now use these technologies to simulate experiences that help students learn the skills they will need in the real world. While simulation is an imitation of real world scenarios, they look more and more real every day.”

The World’s Most “Life-Like” Synthetic Human

The ECPI University Richmond/Moorefield campus recently took ownership of a highly-sophisticated medical mannequin called a Syndaver which will be used in the Surgical Technology Program. Considered the world’s most life-like synthetic human, this mannequin features a complete representation of typical human anatomy, including every bone, muscle, and organ, skin with fat and fascia planes, a functioning respiratory system, and a full digestive tract and circulatory system.

As a teaching tool, it can be used for a variety of purposes, including training in basic suturing skills, microvascular anastomosis, central line placement, chest tube placement, breast surgery, liposuction, oral and nasal intubation, tracheotomy, coronary angioplasty and stenting, and a wide variety of other surgical procedures.

ECPI University is the first school in Richmond and only the second in Virginia to make the Syndaver available to its students. “We are excited to join some of the world’s leading universities and healthcare organizations in providing our students with a tool that can help them enhance their skill level,” says ECPI University Richmond/Moorefield Campus Surgical Technology Program Director Charles Hughes. “Having a Syndaver will give our students a true-to-life training that is second to none,” says Hughes. “They will have an unprecedented opportunity to prepare themselves before they step into the clinical settings of their chosen fields.”

Helping Future Law Enforcement & Private Security Professionals “Make the Right Call”

The ECPI University Virginia Beach campus recently acquired one of the best law enforcement simulators on the market – the Milo Range Pro v4 – an advanced, interactive augmented-reality training system designed to enhance use-of-force and firearms training. Used by law enforcement agencies around the country, it is an especially-effective tool for the development of situational assessment skills.

Milo Range

“While it may first appear similar to a shooting simulator, the Milo offers so much more,” says ECPI University Associate Dean of Criminal Justice, Ife Alexander-Caines. “It is an excellent tool for the development of communication and critical thinking skills, especially when working as a team."

“The Milo gives students an unprecedented opportunity to prepare themselves for the real world. The practice scenarios allow students to determine when to utilize verbal conflict management skills and when responses need to be escalated. They can also practice working as partners as they navigate the various scenarios.”

Why Simulation Works

Aside from its most obvious benefits, simulation is method of learning that modern students find easy to relate. “Our students are used to seeing the world through a monitor or mobile device when they come to us, says Gerry White. “That’s why simulation is so successful in the classroom. It is the world in which they live, socialize, and even play.

“When students run these simulations in lab environments, when they play these games, they are having fun. Students often say that they did not even realize that they were learning until after the fun was over. Learning in this way – using serious gaming technologies – sticks with a student longer. It is also easier for a student to retrieve and apply what they leaned while in the simulation or game.”

Perhaps simulation’s greatest value is that it gives faculty the ability to change scenarios as professional practices and supporting technology develops. If students see frequent changes in the classroom, they just may be better prepared to handle the fast-paced change in the world that lies ahead.

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