Medical Students Using Second Life For Training

The master’s degree in social networking isn’t the only way the U.K. is bringing Web 2.0 into education: A London medical college is actually having its students practice on patients within Second Life.

Imperial College London uses the virtual world to let its med students work on “patients” and diagnose them, CNN says. It’s part of a pilot program aiming to bring a “more engaging learning environment” into the training process.

The school has set up a virtual hospital designed to look like its own real-life facility. Students communicate with professors and other colleagues within the world. Everything’s made to mimic the actual experience: If a student doesn’t virtually wash his hands, for example, he loses points.

Luckily, from the sounds of it, the personnel within the hospital are all part of the program — no random Second Lifers taking to the operating table. And, Imperial College says, the virtual training doesn’t replace the physical in-hospital experience. Rather, it’s a supplement to help expand students’ education and connect with their computer-driven lives.