top of page

4 Ways to Help Microlearning with Magic and Virtual Simulation

Microlearning is a useful training technique that creates short learning experiences. Microlearning is gaining use in different contexts. For example, prior to a large training event, small bursts of educational material can help trainees get their head in the game. In addition, quick training scenarios can help trainees retain the knowledge after the training is finished. Virtual simulation is an instructional method well suited to microlearning. However, to get virtual simulation to work with a microlearning approach, you might want to consider a few magic tricks.

An article in the Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare reviews how to consider using standard magic tricks to make simulation engaging. These magic tricks used in virtual simulation can help keep development costs down, keep the trainee engaged, and keep the simulation short. Listed next are 4 magic tricks and how they can be used to create micro virtual simulations.

  1. “Reality is in the mind of the participant.” If there is something missing in the fidelity of the simulation, the participant will create the reality in their consciousness. For example, the participant can create the reality of what is happening behind a closed door. An avatar in the simulation can describe what is happening behind a closed door facilitating the perceived reality.

  2. “Attention is easily misdirected.” If you need to simulate something complicated, but don’t want to simulate the complete incident, consider using misdirection. Magic misdirection, such as a flash or doves flying, can shift the focus of the audience so they don’t notice other details of the trick. In a virtual simulation, a noise, a colleague interrupting, or another patient can cause the trainee to focus attention elsewhere. When the trainee comes back to the original scene, the case will have progressed. Perhaps a patient has fallen or gotten out of bed against the directions of the healthcare provider. Modeling these detailed gestures can be difficult, but misdirection can give the same effect while simplifying the virtual simulation construction.

  3. “Perception can be manipulated.” On stage, a magician will guide the audiences understanding of what is seen. The same tactic can be used in a simulation because the training audience is actively developing their situation awareness. If an avatar in the simulation says, “The doctor is on his way,” the trainee will perceive that even if there is no doctor coming in the simulation. A combination of medical charts, equipment readout, and conversations with avatars in the simulation will create the situation awareness for the trainee regardless of the fidelity or “truth” of the simulation.

  4. “Focus must be captured.” It is important to keep the situation evolving at a pace that keeps the attention of the trainee. Events, dialogs, and help from avatars can be used to make sure the narrative continues on a path.

Virtual simulations are an effective approach to developing microlearning. To make it easy to create short training experiences, keep these tips in mind.

Thanks for reading. Please share with colleagues who might find value. This post was authored by Discovery Machine, creators of RESITE for Healthcare. RESITE enables healthcare professionals to quickly and easily create realistic training scenarios for their healthcare trainees—complete with digital doctors, nurses, patients, medical equipment, beds, rooms—everything found in a hospital setting. RESITE places trainees into an immersive 3D environment that helps them learn faster and see the cause/effect relationship of their decisions and hands-on interaction in real time. With over 16 years in the industry Discovery Machine delivers powerful, proven technology with a friendly, accessible front-end that translates to successful training programs empowered with intelligent interaction.


Rubio, Rodrigo, MD; Maestre, Jose M. MD, PhD; Moral, Ignacio, MD, PhD; Raemer, Dan Phd. The Principles of Magic Applied to Healthcare Simulation. Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Vol. 10, No. 6, December 2015.

Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page