Emerging technologies in education and training: applications for the laboratory animal science community

ILAR J. 2007;48(2):163-9. doi: 10.1093/ilar.48.2.163.


This article examines several new and exciting communication technologies. Many of the technologies were developed by the entertainment industry; however, other industries are adopting and modifying them for their own needs. These new technologies allow people to collaborate across distance and time and to learn in simulated work contexts. The article explores the potential utility of these technologies for advancing laboratory animal care and use through better education and training. Descriptions include emerging technologies such as augmented reality and multi-user virtual environments, which offer new approaches with different capabilities. Augmented reality interfaces, characterized by the use of handheld computers to infuse the virtual world into the real one, result in deeply immersive simulations. In these simulations, users can access virtual resources and communicate with real and virtual participants. Multi-user virtual environments enable multiple participants to simultaneously access computer-based three-dimensional virtual spaces, called "worlds," and to interact with digital tools. They allow for authentic experiences that promote collaboration, mentoring, and communication. Because individuals may learn or train differently, it is advantageous to combine the capabilities of these technologies and applications with more traditional methods to increase the number of students who are served by using current methods alone. The use of these technologies in animal care and use programs can create detailed training and education environments that allow students to learn the procedures more effectively, teachers to assess their progress more objectively, and researchers to gain insights into animal care.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Laboratory*
  • Education, Veterinary / trends*
  • Educational Technology*
  • Laboratory Animal Science / education*
  • Learning*