VR BOOSTS LEARNING PERFORMANCE

Recent use of VitaSim software proved to generate incredible results.

With our generic medical imaging algorithm, it has become easy to practice both CT, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, x-ray, and other modalities, as well as image guided interventional procedures!

The quest for better learning

Several years ago, when “a Quest” was something you experienced in computer games and not a world famous VR headset, we participated in a novel research project by the Research and Innovation Unit of Radiology at Odense University Hospital. The aim of the study was to investigate if adding VR to an existing e-learning curriculum could improve learning – and the results proved to be stunning: More than 300% increase in learning from adding just 15-20 minutes of VR training to the existing curricula – an increase that was both significant and surprisingly large!
Medicine (Baltimore). 2021 Jul 9; 100(27): e26394. Fig. 2
Medicine (Baltimore). 2021 Jul 9; 100(27): e26394. Fig. 3

Deliberate practice using VR

Now let’s examine how the study was performed. 21 medical students with no prior experience in ultrasound guided peripheral venous cannulation were randomly divided into two groups. Both went through the same e-learning material, but the intervention group also practiced a specific part of the skill in a VR headset for approximately 15-20 minutes. This specific part of the skill had previously been identified by the research team as a difficult but very important component of the skill. Afterwards all students took the same “exam” where they attempted to place 3 different sized intravenous cannulas in 3 increasingly difficult veins. And this is where it gets interesting!

15 minutes in VR increased learning by more than 300%

While every participant in the VR group managed to place the first and easiest needle, only 44% from the e-learning group placed it successfully. The difference became even larger for the 2nd, moderately difficult needle where only 22% in the e-learning group managed to place it compared to 80% in the VR group! No participants in the e-learning group managed to place the third and most difficult needle, while 40% from the VR placed it successfully. Hence on average the VR group performed more than 3 times as good as e-learning alone, and this was with just 15-20 minutes of additional practice.

Medicine (Baltimore). 2021 Jul 9; 100(27): e26394. Fig. 4

Correct use of VR makes the difference

These results in combination with other, less impressive results (from studies done in the same period – stay tuned, they will also be out soon!) showed us early on that VR can be an extremely powerful tool for training – but only if used correctly! Choosing which skills to practice in VR, and then selecting which specific, difficult, or otherwise relevant parts of these skills should be practiced using VR is of the utmost importance. Hence by combining VR with other relevant learning modalities and only utilizing VR when it matters can help get the most out of VR based education and training and keep it efficient and economically feasible. We do our best to help teachers make the education methods evidence-based and effective, and therefore allow our users to integrate with e-learning platforms using LTI, SCORM, and similar.

wide variety of procedures available

A lot has happened since this study was conducted, and today it is possible to practice not only ultrasound guided venous cannulation but also biopsies, pleuracentesis, ascites, and much more. You can of course also create your own training modules using VitaSim Author. With our generic medical imaging algorithm, it has become easy to practice both CT, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, x-ray, and other modalities, as well as image guided interventional procedures! For example, it is easy to transform CT- and other DICOM-based imaging or 3D objects into realistic ultrasound images. The algorithm also includes complex details such as tissue deformation to make the training as realistic as possible.

VitaSim is currently participating in several other research projects so stay tuned for more news soon.
If you would like to know more about our research or solutions, you’re always welcome to reach out by email, phone or through our contact form.

For further reading the full study can be found here.

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Introducing Ola Nordqvist