If you want to add immersive learning to your curriculum or want to upgrade from Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) options, you may have to justify the investment in Extended Reality (XR) and Mixed Reality (MR) devices.
This might be particularly challenging heading into 2021, as universities cope with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
For instructors and students in healthcare fields, though, the investment in XR pays off in both quality of education and a favorable cost-benefit analysis when compared to other types of simulation teaching and training.
XR is gaining ground in life sciences, the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare. While it’s still an emerging field, research exists to prove its efficacy.
Extended Reality vs. Manikin Simulation
Manikins can provide a hands-on simulation experience in healthcare training. By allowing students to practice important manual skills, such as CPR, they offer a risk-free environment for students to master important elements of care. But, they have some crucial limitations. More affordable manikins, which still cost in the hundreds of dollars at a minimum, are unrealistic and lack the ability to simulate a range of conditions.
More sophisticated manikins, while far more true to life and able to “breathe,” blink and mimic other human responses, can often run over $10,000. They are also limited in scope in many cases: a trauma manikin might not be equipped to also have students perform cardiac care. In addition, adding moulage to manikins (or, for that matter, patient actors) is time-consuming.
Regardless of the type of manikin, they take up quite a bit of space, especially as many are both life size and realistic weight. That means that manikins and other analog simulation techniques are restricted to simulation centers. Whether during a pandemic or during normal instruction, portability is a key issue in making simulation training easier to access and more effective.
Immersive learning programs, though they require an upfront investment in headsets and software, can help offset those challenges.
For example, GIGXR’s HoloHuman is a 3D XR anatomy model that lets students look at 4500 different anatomical structures. That allows them to trace the path of a catheter or an injection to understand the “how” and the “why” of the procedure better than, say, practicing it on a small part task trainer.
HoloPatient allows students to both observe volumetric video capture of standardized patient actors and corresponding vital signs, teaching them key skills of observation and monitoring. In addition, instructors can mimic a wide variety of pathologies, which is difficult to do on many manikins, which are designed for specific purposes (such as a CPR dummy, or manikin designed for vascular simulation).
Maintaining and Accelerating Learning During COVID-19
Whether colleges resume in-person classes or stay remote, social distancing in many places makes it difficult to bring students together to learn in situations where close contact is required. Common examples include medical or nursing simulation labs.
Immersive learning allows students to keep up the pace of their education from anywhere. A “2.5D” remote version of GIGXR’s HoloPatient app allows them to log in from any device, including smartphones and tablets. That obviates the need for students to share headsets, which, again, may be difficult due to the coronavirus.
For more information on HoloPatient Remote, click here.