Lifesaver intro screen

In my current degree there is a lot of favouritism for the Discussion Board that has gone widely unused in most other subjects that I have taken in my previous degree. Nonetheless, this does mean that at times other students are able to share some intriguing links as part our weekly tasks. One of these such apps was the Lifesaver app.

Unfortunately, Lifesaver uses Flash, but provides an amazing experience as you are walked through three scenarios where you have come across someone in trouble. It’s an ‘interactive film’, or ‘e-learning program’ for those who don’t have first aid experience, telling us that regardless of who we are, if we see someone in trouble, we can help.

For the general populace

Despite liking to read medical novels and various articles online, I don’t have any actual first aid training. Unfortunately they simply have not coincided with my free days with a fee that I can reasonably afford (strangely enough). At one point in my life I considered volunteering for St John’s Ambulance.

I have no doubt that like anyone else I would freeze up if the situation arose given my lack of experience, worried that I would make things worse and not better. But sometimes it’s making that first move that makes all the difference — starting CPR on a person who has had a cardiac arrest could double the chances of saving their life, after all. Even if it’s hands-only CPR, it’s better than doing nothing at all.

They are selfless people who come to the aid of those in trouble, but at the same time, just ordinary citizens and passerbys — people who could be you or I. As I entered Westfield Hornsby one day, a sight that greeted my eyes was a man and woman bracing an old lady as she lay on the floor, having struck and cut open her head as she was momentarily unbalanced. These people tried their best to make her comfortable and stem the flow of blood as a nearby pharmacy tried to provide clean materials to press against the wound and another phoned for an ambulance nearby.

Yes, we can all make a difference.

The three scenarios provided in the program provide the persona of your everyday character who just happens to come across someone who is in trouble, so is relatable for anyone. They encourage you to not just be a bystander, but to take action and the setting is realistic enough that you feel a sense of relief and fulfillment at the end of it, by saving a life… and hopefully spurring you into taking this knowledge into any future situations. Or better yet, going ahead to learn more.

Lifesaver option screen

In the e-learning sphere

What is unique about this application, however, is that it’s approach is special for an e-learning application. As I can vouch for, having just started working with an e-learning company, many e-learning programs are still based around a ‘slideshow’ or book format, where a lot of reading is done before an assessment at the end.

Lifesaver is unique in its form of interactivity, providing real-time feedback so there’s a sense of ‘learn by experience’, although you are not actually experiencing whatever is happening there — just as well. This experience, however, is still more realistic than the usual practice of using a mannikin, as there is a sense of urgency generated and the desire to not mess up and end up delivering the death blow — even if this is just a game.

I would say they certainly have achieved their aim of throwing their audiences into the heart of the action and recreating the emotions (thrills, fears, exhaustion) of trying to save a life. I never managed to do the ‘wrong’ thing so as to experience the consequences of not doing things right, but for those that do there is the opportunity to go back and start again.

What you wouldn’t see in real life though — the ability to pause and play the game if you so need to! Often I did accidentally by hitting the space bar.

Even if you do have the first-aid experience already, it certainly is quite the experience and very well made, although I’m sure this experience would vary across devices because of the different ways of interacting (mouse/keyboard/trackpad, vs touchscreen). Nonetheless, one of my favourite Flash applications to date, and I would be interested if they came out with more such content.