This week we discussed Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). This topic actually had me thinking about the use of scenario-based games and simulation in Medical Education. We currently use standardized patients to provide students with mock clinical experiences. Much like a Virtual or Augmented Reality, the use of standardized patients can can give students “a chance to mess up a bunch with a virtual patient, before they get their hands on a live one” (Rizzo qtd in Kuehn 2018).
In most cases, standardized patient scenarios are fairly low-tech. They involve the use of what is essentially a trained actor in a mock clinical setting. In many ways, these simulations serve the same purpose as a VR or AR scenario, but they rely on interpersonal interactions rather than socio-material interactions. VR or AR might have the added benefit of being more scalable and being easier to ensure consistency, but simulations may provide learners with something closer to an authentic experience.
I was interested in looking at how well these two modalities compared and found a study which compared Virtual Reality and Simulation in teaching students how to respond in mass casualty situations. The researchers conclude that VR and simulations are comparable, but that VR has limitations with regards to allowing students to demonstrate some practical skills “such as the opening of an airway or control of a hemorrhage” (Ferrandini Price, 2018). However, it is possible (though not addressed in the study) that augmented reality and the use of dummies could allow learners to demonstrate these skills.
Kuehn discusses the potential for VR and AR as a tool for human anatomy. She admits that cadaveric anatomy labs are the optimal way to learn, but suggested that VR and AR tools would have the added benefits of learners being able to redo virtual labs (which is often not possible in cadaveric anatomy labs due to limited resources (2018).
I think one of the most interesting potential applications of VR, AR or even low-tech simulation is their use in serious games. Serious games are games used for educational purposes, and engaging in this type of learning “can have a bearing on the real world, as the player can improve skills that can lead to better performance on related tasks in the real world—a concept known as transfer” (de Ribaupierre et. al., 2014, p. 19). Medical education is just starting to explore the possibilities of Serious Game Play, including the use of board games (see GridlockED and TriagED) and Virtual Reality (see de Ribaupierre et. al., 2014). Personally, I’m very interested in the use of games and game theory in education and am excited to explore the development of game based learning experiences.
- de Ribaupierre, S., Kapralos, B., Haji, F., Stroulia, E., Dubrowski, A., & Eagleson, R. (2014). Healthcare Training Enhancement Through Virtual Reality and Serious Games. In M. Ma, L. C. Jain, & P. Anderson (Eds.), Virtual, Augmented Reality and Serious Games for Healthcare 1 (pp. 9–27). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-54816-1_2
- Ferrandini Price, M., Escribano Tortosa, D., Nieto Fernandez-Pacheco, A., Perez Alonso, N., Cerón Madrigal, J., Melendreras-Ruiz, R., … Juguera Rodriguez, L. (2018). Comparative study of a simulated incident with multiple victims and immersive virtual reality. Nurse Education Today, 71, 48–53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2018.09.006
- Kuehn BM. Virtual and Augmented Reality Put a Twist on Medical Education. JAMA. 2018;319(8):756–758. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.20800