To Err is Human, To Teach VR

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To Err is Human, To Teach VR – Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence in Medical Education

Maxim Gorshkov

EuroMedSim, Stuttgart, 2024

Find it on EuroMedSim

It is hard to admit that my generation of physicians and medical educators (those over 50), while being at the top of their clinical skills, finds it challenging to keep up with the ever changing world of information technology, including virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). Yet, we must. It is driven not only by our desire to stay relevant, but by a necessity to offer all spectrum of different educational modalities to our learners. 

We are slowly implementing chat-GPT and like in our daily routines, but the breadth and diversity of AI application in medical education is growing at incredible speed. We gain our knowledge of new technologies from being exposed to them at conferences, reading relevant scientific publications, but at times, nothing is better than an opportunity to read an overview put together by an expert. 

The book by Dr. Maxim Gorshkov, “To Err is human, to teach – VR” offers such an opportunity. It differs from the textbooks compiled by multiple authors, for it follows a “story of VR and AI” from one person’s perspective. Dr. Gorshkov does a good job referencing many of his points, and while there is no methodology behind his choice of references and many of his statements are his personal beliefs, his thoughts and biases, in my opinion, this is not a weakness, but actually a strength of his book. 

The To Err is Human, To Teach – VR brilliantly presents complex concepts in an engaging and structured manner. It delves into the fascinating convergence of digital technologies, exploring how virtual worlds are seamlessly integrated with the real environment for the purpose to optimize educational experience of the learners, and the role of artificial intelligence in this blend. It poses thought-provoking questions about the boundaries between these realms and whether such distinctions are even necessary. 

The book offers a useful description and classification of modern virtual reality medical simulators, highlighting their Pros & Cons. It also provides a well thought of and insightful perspective on how digital environments are transforming the learning process, analyzed through the lens of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. 

It is a book for anyone involved in the training of healthcare providers, especially simulation-based educators and curriculum developers seeking to integrate VR and AI systems into their educational practice. More so, it is an enjoyable (if not an easy) read. 

Review by Vsevolod (Sev) Perelman (Canada)


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