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December 11, 1996

Medical Education Gets Wired: Interactive Media Laboratory Targets Patients and Physicians

JAMA. 1996;276(22):1788-1789. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540220012005

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AS DIRECTOR of the Interactive Media Laboratory (IML) at Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH, Joseph V. Henderson, Jr, MD, has at his disposal a technophile's paradise of computers, video and sound equipment, and other multimedia paraphernalia—all tools for crafting the award-winning interactive educational programs aimed at health care professionals, medical and nursing students, and patients for which he and the IML have become known.

But as Henderson knows, what really creates powerful learning experiences is not the technology itself but its capacity to engage viewers emotionally and give them a sense of having had a life experience. It accomplishes this, he says, by conveying information through interactive exercises—such as getting feedback on good and bad decisions in managing the care of a simulated patient—and combining them with cinematic elements, in which the stories and circumstances of real and fictional patients provide an emotional overlay that can make learning more engaging