2 min

Training on virtual patients

Project of the St. Poelten UAS develops innovative learning concept for dietetics in Europe

Training on virtual patients
Copyright: St. Pölten UAS

What people eat has a significant impact on diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. With nutritional therapy, dieticians make a valuable contribution to the preservation of health. However, the approaches to diagnosis and therapy in dietetics differ from country to country. The EU project IMPECD (Improvement of Education and Competences in Dietetics) is therefore developing uniform standards in the form of a freely accessible online course (massive open online course - MOOC). Training will thereby be done on virtual patients. This innovative learning opportunity promotes quality in studies and the dietetic profession as well as international exchange.

"A Europe-wide uniform basis for procedures and working methods in dietetics would enhance exchange and discussion and thus the quality of dietetic care as well as support and promote practical work with patients", says IMPECD project manager Alexandra Kolm of the Institute of Health Sciences of the St. Poelten University of Applied Sciences.

European cooperation on virtual humans

Together with universities in Antwerp (B), Fulda (D), Groningen (NL) and Neubrandenburg (D) ten virtual clinical case studies are being developed. "The examples are based on real cases, but are didactically prepared and further developed", explains Andrea Werkman of the Hanzehogeschool in Groningen.

"On the basis of experience, the project will design a uniform process model for practical work and thereby establish a foundation for improved nutrition therapy in Europe", says Kathrin Kohlenberg-Müller from the University of Fulda. The Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerpen is developing the didactic documents relating to the case studies led by Koen Vanherle. The difficulty of the case studies orients itself to the individual training level of students. European and national professional associations support the project as members of an expert board.

The uniform process model to be developed will in the future also facilitate international exchange: "It fosters the implementation of international research projects, the comparison of project and therapy results, the choice of therapies and the cross-border mobility of professionals" , says Luzia Valentini of the University Neubrandenburg.

Lifelong learning through online course

For training with case studies, a massive open online course (MOOC) is being developed under the direction of Elisabeth Höld at the St. Poelten University of Applied Sciences. This will later be freely accessible after the completion of the project for universities. MOOCs (pronounced Muugs) are open online courses and lectures usually with a large number of participants. These courses have for several years been used intensively by universities.

In terms of lifelong learning this online course will in the future also be made available for dieticians who have already completed their training. The Service and Competence Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning (SKILL) and the Institute for Creative\Media /Technologies (IC\M /T) of the St. Poelten University of Applied Sciences support the scientific project team didactically and technically in developing the online course.

Project IMPECD

Improvement of Education and Competences in Dietetics

The project is financed by the European Union in the framework of the EU program "Erasmus + Strategic Partnership for Higher Education". The authors of this press release bear alone the responsibility for the content; the Commission is not liable for further use of the information contained therein. The project coordinated by FH St. Poelten started in September 2015 and runs until September 2018.

Read more about the project