A new report that could help improve the use of immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (RA) in health education and training has been published with significant contributions from the University of Huddersfield.
Professor David Peebles, director of the University’s Center for Cognition and Neuroscience, and Huddersfield PhD graduate Matthew Pears contributed to the report “Immersive Technologies in Health Education and Training: Three Principles for Progress” – published recently by the University of Leeds with contributions from various academics, technologists and health professionals.
The principles have also been expanded in a letter to the prestigious journal BMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced Learning.
Huddersfield’s contribution to the report comes from several years of research, which involved another Huddersfield PhD researcher, Yeshwanth Pulijala, and Professor Eunice Ma, who is now at Falmouth University.
“Yeshwanth had an interest in technology and education and in using RV for training in dentistry. Matthew studied the soft skills and awareness of the situation, which could be applied to research into how dentists were able to do. a follow – up to what was going on around them. They were similar issues, albeit with different emphasis, and therefore seemed a natural space for collaboration. “
With only a relatively small number of dental schools in the UK, the quartet visited seven dental schools in India in early 2017, with the support of Santander Bank travel grants, to test their materials. training based on virtual reality. The experience gained from this visit contributed to the doctors of the two researchers and ultimately involved Professor Peebles and Matthew Pears in the new report.
The report advocates greater standardization of how to use immersive technologies in health education and training. As Professor Peebles explains, “It’s about developing a set of principles and guidelines for the use of immersive technology in medical treatment. Immersive technology is becoming more popular and as technology advances, it’s clear that there is great potential to make training more accessible and effective.
“However, it’s important that research is based on user needs and existing evidence rather than technology. Instead of thinking ‘we have a new VR or AR kit, what can we do about it?’ “, we should examine the problem that needs to be solved: what are the learning needs, so how do we use technology to solve it?
“The development of immersive training materials can be very slow and difficult to properly assess. Getting surgeons and medical students to test your VR training is a challenge. In our case, we were lucky to have a surgeon, Professor Ashraf Ayoub, Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Glasgow, who granted us permission to film a surgical procedure which was then transformed into a 3D environment to train students on the consciousness of the situation while they were in the operating room “.
Professor Peebles hopes the work so far will be a basis for further research that can help make the most of the potential that virtual and immersive reality technology offers.
“It’s hard to do these kinds of studies well, in particular to get enough quantitative data that allows you to evaluate them rigorously.” As the report recommends, more collaboration is needed to bring together technological and intellectual resources, to try to develop a set of standards and a community working together to drive and improve research in this area. “
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