Another feather in the cap of UP’s Skills Lab


Another feather in the cap of UP’s Skills Lab

10 April

The InVeST (International Veterinary Simulation in Teaching) conference from 10 to 12 April will be hosted by the Skills Laboratory of the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria (UP). 

This is a significant achievement as the Skills Lab is a relatively new member of the international veterinary education and InVeST community. Not only does the new facility have much to offer in this exciting and important developing field, it has managed to become a world-class teaching facility in a short period of time since its opening in April 2015.

The conference will go a long way towards raising the profile of both UP and South Africa in this field and will focus the international society’s attention on one of the Faculty’s flagship facilities.

InVeST represents an informal international group of veterinary educators dedicated to promoting and advancing the use of simulation in veterinary education. The main purpose of the conference is to share innovations, advances and best practice in veterinary simulation in teaching.

It was started in August 2011, following a very successful Veterinary Simulation Exchange symposium hosted by the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, USA. The group has grown immensely through communications on the clinical skills and simulation page hosted by the Network of Veterinarians in Continuing Education, reconvening in 2012, 2014 and 2015 for the InVeST conference. The conference has provided an international forum for learning and networking among researchers, developers and educational institutions on the use of simulation in veterinary education, while encouraging research regarding its use and effectiveness. Since 2011, the number of attendees and countries they represent has grown significantly.

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Students watch a demonstration on one of the simulators in the Skills Lab

The conference will continue in the tradition of successful conferences, previously held at Colorado State University, Calgary University in Canada, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the University of Hanover in Germany. The InVeST conference will provide an excellent opportunity to engage with an extensive network of experts, form new partnerships, and share knowledge and the latest research in veterinary simulation.

International delegates from six continents will be exposed to a wide variety of exciting topics such as the newest developments in teaching simulations, the use of e-portfolios, the development of educational applications, the creation of e-books, 3-D printing, hands-on silicone model development and many more. A model and simulator display area, open to all delegates for the duration of the conference, will encourage discussion of new ideas and create possibilities for future collaborations. The four invited keynote speakers are well-known experts in the field of veterinary education.

‘We are very excited and proud to welcome Dean Hendrickson, Sarah Baillie, Rikke Langebaek and Harold Bok,’ says Dr Annett Annandale, manager of the Onderstepoort Skills Laboratory and chair of the local organising committee of InVeST . ‘Coincidentally, the InVeST conference fits perfectly with the UP priority to pursue and advance teaching and learning and creates a fantastic opportunity to engage and collaborate with experts in the field of veterinary education.’

In addition to the keynote addresses, workshops, oral presentations and additional sessions (which include a tour through the Onderstepoort Skills Laboratory), the conference will also feature an open-access demonstration to show the use of technology to create simulations. Many delegates are first-time visitors to South Africa. To ensure that they enjoy their stay beyond the scientific programme, InVeST is held, in the spirit of umoya (a Zulu word meaning team spirit), at the Intundla conference venue in the rolling African bushveld.

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For more information about the conference, please visit the InVeST website at http://investconf .com/, or contact Dr Annett Annandale at 012 529 8259 or

– Author Chris van Blerk

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Last edited by Ansa HeylEdit