4th Generation Virtual Patients

Virtual Patients are not new. They have been around in some guise or other for over 30 years. 

Gradually, over time, they have evolved and morphed:

  • 1st generation – linear cases, usually in HEIDR format (Hist, Exam, Ix, Dx, Rx)
  • 2nd generation – branching cases with hyperlinks
  • 3rd generation – multimedia-rich, virtual worlds, pretty, expensive
  • 4th generation – modular, light, repurposable, semantically linked, learning analytics

We are currently rewriting OpenLabyrinth from the ground up. 

This will enable simple easy light cases but also provide access to very powerful features. Many of the limitations previously found in virtual patients will be resolved. 

But we also want to stay away from features that have been shown to be educationally distracting. Make an interface too cute and, while it may initially impress, it often just gets in the way of learner discovery. Virtual worlds, which initially looked promising, were mostly an example of this. 

Onwards and upwards, building on lessons learned. 

When we have good working foundation for OpenLabyrinth v3, we will publish it at


Watch this space!