Game-based learning for virtual patients in Second Life

Second Life Reporter cover

The School of Medicine at Imperial College London has developed a Virtual Hospital in Second Life that aims to design game-based learning activities for the delivery of virtual patients that can drive experiential, diagnostic, and role-play learning activities supporting patients’ diagnosis, investigation and treatment.

The four-dimensional framework described by De Freitas and Martin (2006), plus the learning types described by Helmer (2007), as well as the different aspects of emergent narrative described by Murray (1997) have provided the basis for the design of these game-based learning activities for virtual patients under two different categories: context and learner specification, and narrative and modes of representation.

Phase I of this project focused on the delivery of a virtual patient in the area of Respiratory Medicine following a game-based learning model in Second Life. A pilot was carried out in March 2008 with 43 students.

The feedback received has informed the development of Phase II which incorporates a multi-patient approach. Phase II was released in August 2008.

How can I access Second Life?

You would need to register in Second Life to be able to access our region and download the application.

Contact us at if you would like to know more about this project and/or get access to our Second Life island.

Why not also take a look at some of our most recent publications on this project?