simulation for higher ed

7 Reasons to Standardize Your Simulation Technology

7 Reasons to Standardize Your Simulation Technology 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

Simulation technology has become an integral part of the training and education for industries like medicine and emergency response, where the stakes are high, and errors can be costly not only financially but in patient outcomes.

Simulation technologies can be a significant investment, but standardizing these solutions can make their use more efficient and effective.

What to Standardize in Your Simulation Solution—and Why

Standardizing simulation solutions across an organization improves the experience of educators who are running the simulations as well as of students who are learning from them. It also improves the experience of other staff members like operations specialists, IT managers, and simulation technicians who may be called upon to operate the simulation solution or troubleshoot issues when they arise. Here are seven areas to consider standardizing—and why.

  1. Control stations. One teacher might use a handful of different simulation solutions across your campus or organization during a semester or school year. Precious teaching and learning time is lost if they have to reacquaint themselves with the control system every time they want to run a simulation scenario. Standardized control stations with the same computer model, operating system, mouse, keyboard and aspect ratio cut down on time spent learning how to use the system and increase time spent using it to teach students.
  2. Operational commands. Part of standardizing control stations is standardizing the commands users need to operate the system and run the scenario. Keyboard commands should be the same for every simulation tool in your organization, and every control station computer should have the same desktop shortcuts installed. In other words, there should be no difference to a user no matter which simulation tool they are running.
  3. Scenario programming. Many educators use the same scenario for each simulation session, but instead of saving the steps and outcomes, the scenario is programmed manually each time. This is a time-consuming process that also leaves room for human error. By pre-programming standard scenarios, educators can automate the process, which saves time and allows them to account for and easily address the most common student responses and outcomes. Any outcomes outside those parameters can be addressed in real time during the scenario and incorporated into the automated version later.
  4. Responses and prompts. Events during a simulation, and the outcomes of those events, should play out organically to some degree, but many events and outcomes can be organized and standardized on the simulator software menu. For example, generic responses given by the manikin such as “yes,” “no,” and “I don’t know” could be grouped together under a single menu heading. This kind of standardization also simplifies the operation of the simulator, allowing educators to pay more attention to what students are doing and how they are reacting.
  5. Simulation training and education. Simulation solutions are increasingly common in higher education settings, but the training for how to operate simulation solutions is not yet standardized across the industry. Training ranges from on-the-job learning to professional certificates to master’s degrees in clinical simulation. Providing a clear and standardized path for your employees to receive training on operating simulation solutions will help ensure a uniform, quality experience for everyone involved in operating, teaching with, and learning from a simulation tool.
  6. Simulation technician role. One of the easiest and best ways to ensure your simulation solutions are installed, operated, and maintained correctly is to designate a simulation technician within your organization. A designated simulation technician will take the burden off IT staff or operations specialists who have taken on simulation solutions as an additional duty. A dedicated simulation technician can also ensure standardization of simulation tools across your organization.
  7. Results tracking. If simulation systems are standardized across your organization, you can much more easily track comparable results and outcomes across your organization, and quickly adjust scenarios and processes as needed.  

Next Steps

Standardizing or, at the very least, integrating simulation solutions across your organization will lead to a richer experience for the teachers and students who use them. Designating one person, with the proper training and necessary availability, to manage the operation of simulation solutions across your organization is a critical step toward that standardization. Level 3 can help you do both. Level 3 Audiovisual simulation technology integrators can get you started with the right hardware and software. And Level 3 training and certification opportunities can ensure your simulation technicians are qualified to operate and manage those solutions.

4 Ways Simulation Technicians Add Value To Your Organization

4 Ways Simulation Technicians Add Value To Your Organization 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

In a real life medical emergency, wasting time becomes a matter of life and death. In a simulated medical emergency an actual life isn’t on the line but wasted time can still be damaging. If an educator has to spend time on setting up the system, troubleshooting the system, or fixing glitches, time is taken away from critical teaching and learning. Simulation scenarios might be rushed or missed altogether if teachers spend the bulk of their time just trying to get a simulation system to work.

As institutions of higher learning—particularly those involved in medical training—increasingly incorporate simulation tools into their curriculums, investing in a dedicated technician to ensure the system runs smoothly is more important than ever.

4 Benefits You Get From A Simulation Technician  

Educators, IT pros and operations specialists often find themselves responsible for the operation and maintenance of simulation tools under the category of “other duties as assigned.” Many organizations don’t see the point in hiring a dedicated person to do a job existing employees seem to be managing just fine. But just because something is going fine doesn’t mean it can’t be better, and simulation technicians could be the key to unlocking additional productivity and ROI. Here are four ways simulation technicians can add value to your organization.

  1. Educators want to teach, not trouble shoot. Educators often become de facto simulation experts because they use the technology the most. Educators who have to set up and troubleshoot the simulation system are distracted from their core mission—to teach. If a simulation technician were available to prepare the simulation room, boot or reset the system, and address any issues as they arose, educators would have increased time for instruction, grading, mentoring and other responsibilities.
  2. IT departments have enough to do. Almost every IT department already has more than enough to do, and maintaining and monitoring a simulation system will likely fall to the bottom of an already long list. A simulation technician can relieve some of that burden by handling the day-to-day operations of a simulation system and freeing up the IT department to focus on more high-level, organization-wide concerns.
  3. Simulation solutions don’t exist in a vacuum. Simulation systems are not stand-alone tools. They have to interact and cooperate with other technologies, including network connections and AV equipment. Simulation technicians are perfectly positioned to be a full-time subject matter expert not only on the simulation system, but on how it integrates with other components. As simulation subject matter experts, simulation technicians can also advocate for the adoption and incorporation of simulation best practices.
  4. Time is money and sim techs save time. There is a lot of prep work that goes into a successful simulation user experience. It’s not as simple as booting up the system and diving in. For example, a room must be stocked with the right supplies. The simulation system itself has to be prepped and tested. Seamless simulation experiences also require someone to document and implement usage schedules, track and order supplies, work with vendors for support and collaborate with faculty members to understand what they need for each simulation scenario and prepare accordingly. That’s a lot to ask of someone who already has a full job description. A simulation technician, however, has the bandwidth and expertise to keep everyone on track and make sure students receive the necessary simulation training on time and without glitches.

Next Steps

The role of simulation technician is new to many organizations and the level of experience and skills among simulation technicians can vary. Taking advantage of training and certification opportunities, such as those offered by Level3, will ensure your simulation technician has the education and support they need to help you succeed.