The world of medical education is perpetually changing and improving. Traditional clinical training, as we know, has evolved to allow for more efficient and effective training techniques. In fact, medical universities and professionals are gradually but surely moving towards a more tech-inclusive methodology. Immersive technologies are entering the medical training and education sector to reinforce the power and potential of innovation in education.
With the growing implementation of virtual reality, more industries are opening up to leveraging technology to enhance efficiency. Medical education has witnessed improved practices and inculcated advanced platforms to offer high-class training to students in the past few years. In this research article, we comprehend and break down how medical education and VR are intertwined in the new digital age.
VR as an educational tool
Virtual reality as a learning tool might be a less-explored venture; however, the concept is far from new. With constant advancement and innovative modifications, the delivery method of education through a virtual platform has evolved considerably, especially with the emergence and growth of VR headsets. Several studies conducted by reputed researchers have revealed that immersive learning can have a powerful and long-lasting impact on students. In fact, a survey conducted by the University of Maryland discovered that people, in general, can retain information better when presented in a virtual, interactive environment.
The research further revealed that of the participants (about 40 people), VR users performed 8.8% better as compared to those using a desktop
Another research conducted by Johnson and Johnson Institute in association with Osso VR Software and Oculus for Business platform observed that VR-trained students in the medical field scored 233% higher than medical students who trained with traditional learning tools. While formal computer-based learning has its upsides, virtual reality tools take the value of education and learning a notch above.
Why is VR becoming an important tool in medical education?
The past two years have seen an evident upheaval of the healthcare industry, emphasizing the need for skilled healthcare workers across the world. This further led to highly productive and effective avenues such as virtual reality becoming increasingly important in shaping future healthcare specialists.
A research article by De Gruyter Oldenbourg based on their pilot study examined the extent of acceptance of VR simulation and the increase of knowledge among participants.
The study was conducted with a sample size of 51 students, using a quasi-experimental pre-post-test design. To better understand the increase of knowledge and effects of presence on acceptance, they developed and tested a VR simulation for endotracheal suctioning as part of the pilot study.
The results of the survey revealed that training through a VR simulation offers a higher sense of presence and is hence more likely to be accepted by learners. It further indicated that using VR simulation as an educational tool has a positive and dominant influence on behavioral intention.
What can virtual reality offer in medical training?
The examples mentioned above are clear indications of the impact a simulated learning environment can have on learners’ psyche, performance, and behavior. It evidently enhances the learning experience, allowing students to acquire knowledge from more than traditional textbooks and classrooms.
A research journal published by the Royal College of Physicians on the Future Healthcare Journal talks in detail about the innumerable opportunities that virtual reality offers to medical trainees. Accessing clinical experiences is more straightforward and commercially available, thanks to the intervention that immersive technologies have brought along.
The journal also notes that the ease and flexibility of access offer a pathway for seamless integration of simulation-based education into everyday life.
Medical education has seen a revolutionary transformation over the years. Whether it’s the access to a world of medical technology or the sheer convenience of learning through a simulated environment, the advancement in the industry has been noteworthy. The integration of VR into a complex training industry such as healthcare can help improve competencies, avoid contingencies, and focus on a blended learning approach.
With the volley of benefits and its proven mettle in the medical training world, it is only a matter of time before VR educational tools become a mainstream methodology.
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