SBIR Phase I: Improved Learning and Retention of Health Science Concepts Through the Use of Flexible and Dynamic Screen and Browser-Based Simulations

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Command Applied Technology, Inc
400 W. Main Street
Pullman, WA 99163
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project extends the development and enhances the flexibility of a screen-based, medical physiology, computer simulation design that engages students in an active learning process. Reduced availability of live animal laboratory instruction and the rapid expansion of web-based distance learning physiology instruction have created a demand for engaging, scientifically-accurate medical physiology simulations. In Phase I, a screen-based computer simulation prototype of a commercially-available mechanical ventilator used to teach ventilation mechanics will be developed. The Phase I simulation will be an extension of a previously developed prototype that has shown promise as an educational intervention for replacing animal-intensive teaching laboratories. The Phase I experiment will compare immediate and long-term learning outcomes among students exposed to traditional digitally-captured lecture with those of students that have hands-on access to the simulation. A randomized, crossover experiment will be conducted in a college of veterinary medicine to assess immediate and long-term learning. It is anticipated that access to the simulation will result in improved learning outcomes compared with traditional lecture. The Phase II effort will extend the accessibility and marketability of the concept by developing browser-based variants and validating that enhanced learning outcomes occur among diverse topics and student populations. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project, if successful, will be to develop, produce, and market flexible, engaging, and scientifically-accurate simulations. These novel simulations are designed to help students in the health sciences learn and retain difficult medical physiology concepts. Currently available human medical physiology simulations are costly and labor intensive to operate. For economic and technical reasons, they do not reach the majority of students who need to learn basic or advanced physiological concepts. Command Applied Technology's screen and browser-based simulations are less expensive, more flexible and present the student with a dynamic and engaging interface that links a physiologic principle to a patient that has a condition to be treated and will be marketable as windows and web active learning applications. Markets for this technology will range from medical physiology courses in colleges and universities, continuing education and distance learning programs for health science professionals, advanced CPR and automated external defibrillator training courses, and in respiratory therapy and EMT/Paramedic programs. The expected positive Phase I outcome will generate scientifically-valid, publishable, learning outcome data for this technology and will position Command Applied Technology, Inc. to be on a trajectory to market the simulation technology as windows or as web-based active learning supplements.