Learning / Knowledge Map

This area describes the "Learning / Knowledge Maps" of the Biomedical Engineering Sciences master study program at University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien. These maps want to show the knowledge and skills of biomedical engineering as our graduates use them in their daily business.

This effort started late 2016. We are learning as we go. Over time we will cover the complete picture.

The basic thinking of biomedical enginering and the elements of our map

Medicine, in a nutshell, "diagnoses" and "treats" patients, to recover and improve their health status. Each patient is individual, and knowledge increases dramatically over time, so the medicine business naturally includes scientific methods to generate new knowledge AND (now this is also a tricky part!!) to integrate this new knowledge in the daily business.

Our knowledge map therefore covers both a large area of (1) "science" / "engineering" as well as subjects with a focus on (2) business and (3) personal development. Our university has adopted these "three basic pillars" in the strategy, and our study program is one example that they are indeed needed.

Diagnosis and treatment typically start with looking at what we have and know. We will then use our brain to deciding what we will further do. From our activities, new knowledge will arise. We will then use this to think again and to further decide and act. Our brains act the same way. The "Observe Orient Decide Act" (OODA) loop is one possible picture for this process. Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) is very similar. We prefer OODA, because it adds "Orientation".

In our dynamic, ambiguous, continuously evolving world, we better spend some time to orient ourselves: "Lets take a deep breath at this point." "Things may have changed substantially since we last came here." "Are we (still) on the right track here?" OODA makes us aware, that a defined phase for "orientation" may help, so that we then can decide and act, efficiently and undisturbed from afterthought.

Our map is based on this procedural background. It includes a number of disciplines. In our map we may use icons that represent these diciplines. See the section that lists them.

And off we go!!

The Brain and OODA as a template for a procedural BME map, and the V-Model

There are many types of maps. Geography, traffic systems, electronic components etc have their specific style. Medicine often decides during diagnosis and therapy. It therefore occurred to us to use the main decsion making organ - the brain - as one basic element to map. The OODA loop models decision making from another perspective, again using incoming and outgoing pathways.

The brain of course is structured. We are not going to the medical detail of neurology, anatomy etc. The image of the brain (Brain diagram Author: Webber Source: "own work", Online at Wikimedia Commons) roughly shows the level of detail that helps us here. 

A basic drawing of the brain (Original artwork by T. Wesley Mills (1847–1915) Wikidata: Q7792479, converted to vector by Offnfopt. Online at Wikimedia Commons) may serve better in presentations and documents, as a background to add other things.

The OODA loop (Redrawn version of John Boyd's OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loop diagam, produced by Patrick Edwin Moran. Online at Wikimedia Commons) shows a model of the way we humans often think and act.

The V-Model (V model from structured systems design theory, Herman Bruyninckx own work, under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons) is hugely important for biomedical engineers, because it is referenced e.g. in many of the the "harmonised standards" used for regulatory purposes e.g. in the EU. It shows the phases of design, from the first discussions with users, through specification, implementation, testing until full operation on site.



Activities and functions, how they contribute to BME, and icons to represent them

The finger icon (Mover para a direita, 2016, https://pixabay.com/pt/contato-android-gesto-iphone-161562/. Author: Pixabay, Online at Wikimedia Commons) can represent the many and different sensations that we receive via the nervous system. The sensory cortex of the brain represents this activity. The "observe" part of OODA shows many of these activities.



The eye icon (Nuvola eye icon, 28 April 2014, Renaissance_music_icon.svg. Online at Wikmedia Commons) represents visual perception, and the imaging field of medicine. The visual cortex of the brain does much of that. The  "observe" part of OODA includes vision.



The ear icon (By hunotika (https://thenounproject.com/term/laryngology/42647/) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons) can represent incoming textual information, many of that via the spoken word. The auditory cortex of the brain is active here. In OODA this is happens as we observe.




The network icon (By Mdippel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons) can represent complex nets of communication lines, as for example in the central nervous system and in the brain.  In OODA this can for example represent the mas of incoming raw information on the observation, left hand side.


The conductor icon can represent the orchestration and pre-processing of the mass and complexity incoming information (A conductor silhouette. Author Paul Sherman, permission Public Domain. Online at Wikimedia Commons). Many areas of the brain are involved, among them the thalamus and the parietal lobe. The left half of OODA does much of that. This activity is complex It may not be easy to identify and differentiate this in many circumstances. Don't worry.




The mouth icon can represent talking and other ways that we use to share information with others ( Xeolhades mouth from http://openclipart.org/detail/17424/mouth-by-xeolhades. Online at Wikimedia Commons). "Broca's Area" in the frontal lobe of the brain will do things in that space. In OODA this takes place in the "Act" space on the right hand side.


The running icon (Running icon by Micah Lawrence, from The Noun Project. Online in Wikimedia Commons) represents physical actions that we undertake in the outside world. We grip something, we use tools, often with our hands. The motor cortex in the brain controls much of that. In the OODA loop this is represented in the "act" area on the right hand side.


Disciplines, knowledge, how they contribute to BME, and icons to represent them

All the disciplines shown here will probably fit best into the frontal lobe of the brain. In OODA they will often be used as we orient ourselves and decide. In some situuations these disciplines will be represented by persons, for example during teamwork as we design a device together with users. We therefore find icons for persons here as well.


The digital electronics icon can represent all things electric and software (By Inductiveload (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons). We might use many different symbols to represent the many sub-areas here. However it may be helpful to resort to a selected few.



The physics icon (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AWPCA_-_Picture_physics_gray_infobox.svg) can represent the mode complex areas of physics, for example in cardiovascular science or photonics. 


The lever principle icon (By Iainf 21:31, 9 July 2006 (UTC) (SVG conversion of Image:LeverPrinciple.png) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons) may represent the more "down to earth" elements of engineering and scientific knowledge. 


The chemistry icon (By liontooth34 (https://openclipart.org/detail/121513/chemistry) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons) may represent all things "chemical". We may find another one that better represents e.g. "microbiology", "cellular biology" and "molecular biology", where one research group at Technikum Wien is active.


The medicine icon with the snake (By Con-struct (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons) represents the medical field. Of course this is very central in many places of BME.



The scale of justice (By derivative work: Producer (talk) Scale_of_justice_gold.jpg: me (Scale_of_justice_gold.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons) first and foremost represents "the law". It can also represent other angles like ethics, regulatory issues, contracts, and the formal methods we use to capture and observe agreements between us.


§ The paragraph icon can represent the many formal documents that capture the agreements that have been negotiated by groups or organisations. Examples are laws, contracts, gudelines.


The icon for positive (Emoji One [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons) and negative emotions (By Google (https://code.google.com/p/noto/) [Apache License 2.0 (http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons) represent all things personal. It will in many situations not be possible to discuss complex issues that we do not understand ourselves in a structured and well-disciplined way.


We will then have to do our best to handle the situation. Our personal skills will help.




The "software commander" icon (By Mimooh (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons) can represent decision making, planning and overall control. That is why he looks so worried. Typically life evolves as it evolves. Sometimes life will even match the plan we made! Whatever, someone must be in charge, have oversight and responsibility, and answer the many questions of those in doubt.



The user icon (By Delphine Ménard (notafish) (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons) represents users of a general kind. They may be you and me, granny, uncle Tom, aunt Leila, little Anna or Freddie. We do not expect this type of user to have any special skills or knowledge.


The teacher icon (By Mimooh (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons) can represent experts of all kind. It may be hard to understand why they are generally accepted as experts, however we have to accept their expertise as given. Please be aware that there may likely be experts in the room, that you may already be one of them, or are about to be one in the future.  

 The doctor icon (By Mimooh (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons) may represent the medical user. We generally expect that they have no time at all to talk to engineers, 2000 patients under distress that they have to care for, and may not have detailed engineering knowledge (Prepare for surprieses! Some of them are really deeper in engineering as many engineers!) .  In return they expect medical devices and software to function reliably and without error under all circumstances. Harm to patients may occor, which naturally makes them very angry.



The builder icon (By Mimooh (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons) may represent those who build things, using their engineering skills.



The scientist / engineer icon (By Massimo Barbieri (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons) may represent another type of worker, alternatively to the builder.

Basics of knowledge and learning maps, current work, examples

See some info from the pros and some attempts here (thanks to Martin Lehner and the didactics team at Technikum Wien!).

Interesting to know, there is no Wikipedia entry on "knowledge maps" in English language! The German Wikipedia entry describes somehow where we want to go. "Cognitive maps" are definitely not for us here.


28. Mai 2017, 10:52
1 Kommentar