Save lives by learning from your virtual mistakes
Immersive learning and its applications in the training of procedures,
behaviors and life skills of health care personnel
The development of new technologies has had a considerable impact on the way we acquire new knowledge. E-learning has been made accessible to all and is now part of every learning and training program. From internet content to motion design tutorials, videos, live online courses or moocs, e-learning offers the gain of a rich source of knowledge that is accessible everywhere.
Nevertheless, there are cases, such as the training of health care personnel, where theoretical knowledge is not sufficient. In order to be operational in real life, healthcare workers need practical skills that can only be acquired through contact with patients.
Immersive learning allows for learning through simulation. This modality has a double effect on learning: it strongly engages learners and makes them more attentive by stimulating their senses. It immerses the student in a virtual reality and confronts them with situations they might encounter in the field.
VR allows the recreation of some of the sensations and experiences that characterize real world environments, and this without any time or place constraints. The learner will evolve in scenarios built by a trainer, where each choice and each action can have an impact: he interacts, makes decisions, experiences the consequences of his actions and receives instant feedback.
Discover through these 3 use cases how Immersive Learning can be applied to the healthcare environment.
Written by Kasia Starosciak,
PhD, Immersive Learning Specialist @Uptale
VR at the service of theoretical and practical skills in the healthcare sector
Making a diagnosis, explaining technical vocabulary, following complex procedures, acting according to procedures in difficult situations…
Although students are theoretically prepared to manage these different clinical situations, they need time and practice to gain confidence and act effectively in the field. For this purpose, the “classical” teaching is generally completed by physical training (role playing, internships, feedback). Nevertheless, this type of training is difficult to deploy on a large scale (only a few volunteers can simultaneously attend a demonstration).
Virtual reality is a technology that bypasses the barriers of time and place. It offers the possibility of repeating procedures until retention is achieved, of reliving rare and difficult situations several times, of making mistakes without causing undesirable consequences… There are many arguments for adopting it in the health sector. Here are some concrete examples.
1. And if I make a mistake? – There will be no casualties!
Twenty-five 4th year physiotherapy students at the University of Limoges were confronted with a patient with a sprained ankle.
The challenge: to make a diagnosis. How? Auscultate the patient and test her reaction to different gestures, conduct an active questionnaire based on her answers… Performing all these procedures is possible in Virtual Reality thanks to the functionalities of the Uptale platform, which allow to reproduce the interaction in the field using quizzes, 3D manipulations and conditional scenarios.
What if I’m wrong about my diagnosis? “There will be no death!” – literally and figuratively. As demonstrated in several studies (King et al., 2018), immersive learning offers caregivers the opportunity to train stress-free, safely, and repeatedly for different clinical scenarios.
Through this VR experience, twenty-five students trained in the field despite the COVID 19 pandemic.
2. Always be prepared for the unexpected
In the health field, situations cannot be replicated “on command”, which leaves limited scope for repetition and the creation of the reflexes necessary for learning, especially when you must be operational quickly in the face of a pandemic.
The objective of the immersive modules created by the University of Limoges and its Health Simulation Center (CSVS) in collaboration with Uptale was to train EPHAD staff on the actions to be taken when dealing with Covid-19 positive patients. Practicing medical procedures, managing respiratory attacks and other symptoms of this deadly new virus, while respecting Covid barriers.
Repetition is necessary for the acquisition of new skills (Anderson, 1993). It has a particularly crucial impact on the reinforcement of new behaviors. From this perspective, VR technology is an effective learning approach, as it allows health care workers to learn new behaviors in a safe and effective manner.
3. The health professions – the ultimate human professions
Establishing a dialogue, inspiring trust, actively listening, expressing empathy, analyzing the patient’s emotional state and interacting appropriately… All of these skills are essential to the health care profession. At the same time, they are extremely difficult to convey in purely theoretical form, and even more difficult to conceptualize without having experienced them.
Living in the shoes of a patient treated by a doctor who does not inspire confidence, who treats you like a number on a chart even though he is aware of your suffering… Empathy awareness for medical students thanks to VR is only the beginning.
In the realm of soft-skills, Uptale is taking it a step further. Thanks to its technology based on artificial intelligence, it is possible to train by voice: to analyze the emotional state of the patient, to interact verbally, to be an active listener.
The speech recognition functionality offers learners the opportunity not only to address the patient, whose reaction depends on the speech, but also to self-evaluate through graphs related to speech production: automatic transcription of speech, replay options, cloud of the most frequently used words, richness of vocabulary…
Mantovani F, Castelnuovo G, Gaggioli A, Riva G. (2003). Virtual reality training for health-care profes-sionals, Cyberpsychol Behav, 2003 Aug, 6(4), 389-95.
Ghali R.,(2010), Impact des émotions sur les performances , Mémoire présenté à la Faculté des Arts et des Sciences en vue de l’obtention du grade de Maîtrise (M.Sc.) en Informatique, Université de Montréal Faculté des Arts et des Sciences.
King, D. L., Adair, C., Saunders, J. B., and Delfabbro, P. H. (2018). Clinical predictors of gaming absti-nence in help-seeking adult problematic gamers. Psychiatry Res. 261, 581–588.
Anderson, J.R. (1993). The rules of the mind. Psychology Press,New York.