Historically, medical education relied on textbooks, lectures, and hands-on experience in a clinical setting to teach students the necessary skills. However, in recent years, the use of extended reality (XR) technologies has been on the rise and is being widely implemented in medical education. With decreased training opportunities using real patients and an increased emphasis on patient outcomes and remote access, demand has increased for more advanced, realistic simulation methods. In this blog post, we will explore the advantages of using XR technology in medical education and how it can improve the learning experience for students.
Learning is dependent on exploration and experience with the surrounding environment (experiential learning). Medical students can use XR technology to simulate surgical procedures, explore the human anatomy, and interact with simulated patients in a safe and controlled environment. This technology allows students to gain hands-on experience without the risks associated with real-life medical procedures. Kinaesthetic skill building is heavily focused on here. It is achieved through interactive nuances such as haptic feedback and audio feedback.
XR technology allows medical students to practise their skills in a simulated environment multiple times to build both intrinsic and extrinsic skills. For instance, students can use VR and AR to diagnose and treat medical ailments like heart attacks or strokes in a secure and supervised setting.Giving them the freedom to explore knowledge and environments through controlled environments . Additionally, XR technology provides users with the ability to view scenarios and analyse critically from either an egocentric or exocentric perspective, depending on their preference.
It is commonly believed that we as a species are naturally predisposed to developing a mental model of the complex world we inhabit, which is known as a cognitive schema. Therefore, everyone's internal framework of reality will be distinct. By using XR technology, medical students can enjoy a personalised learning experience. XR technology provides an array of input tools and multimodal feedback mechanisms, such as visual and haptic feedback, that allows the user to manipulate their environment and respond in a way that is best suited to their individual learning style. If there is any conflict between the knowledge domains and a student's cognitive schema, XR technology provides an opportunity to manipulate the environment and resolve these internal questions.
XR technology has the capability to bring about a significant transformation in healthcare education, but it is more likely to succeed if the focus is on a learner-centred approach. To achieve this, it is necessary to create an environment that fosters interaction between students, teachers, and the learning material. XR technology can facilitate this through collaborative learning processes where multiple learners can use avatars to interact with one another in a virtual environment. This collaborative approach can enhance the adaptability and critical thinking skills of learners.
According to a large research study conducted by Kyaw et al it was found that virtual reality was more effective in both knowledge and skills acquisition, especially in skills development. The study showed that virtual reality had a significant impact on learning, with a standardised mean difference of 0.44 for knowledge acquisition and 1.12 for skills development.
In conclusion, the use of XR technology in medical education provides a unique and immersive learning experience for students. It enables them to gain practical skills and knowledge in a safe and controlled environment, without the risks associated with real-life medical procedures. With personalised learning, collaborative environments, and unlimited practice opportunities, XR technology has the potential to revolutionise medical education and improve patient outcomes. As technology continues to evolve, it is essential that medical institutions embrace the benefits of XR technology and integrate it into their curriculum to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals.
Whether you're looking to develop virtual simulations for surgical training, interactive anatomy lessons, or collaborative learning environments, we can help you bring your vision to life. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you integrate XR into your organisation and improve the learning experience for your students or healthcare providers.
Kyaw B, Saxena N, Posadzki P, Vseteckova J, Nikolaou C, George P, Divakar U, Masiello I, Kononowicz A, Zary N, Tudor Car L. Virtual Reality for Health Professions Education: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis by the Digital Health Education Collaboration. J Med Internet Res 2019;21(1):e12959. URL: https://www.jmir.org/2019/1/e12959 DOI: 10.2196/12959