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Virtual reality, an innovative educational resource for studies in health and life sciences

Virtual reality, an innovative educational resource for studies in health and life sciences

A new European project is to promote cross-disciplinary skills of undergraduate and graduate students in the field of health and life sciences by creating innovative teaching tools and practices.

18.01.2021

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The Health Sciences Educational Research Group (GRECS) at UPF is coordinating a new European project that focuses on developing cross-disciplinary skills in the study of health sciences. The project, called "Integration of transversal skills into health and social care, higher education and the curriculum (ITSHEC)”, is to take place over the next three years and is funded by the Erasmus+ programme.

The institutions participating in the project are the Mar Nursing School (ESIMar), Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (Finland), University of Split School of Medicine (Croatia) and the company Immersium Studio, which specializes in the development of interactive and immersive learning experiences.

Immersive scenarios allow students to live a virtual experience and act like professionals. They will be able to put their skills into practice and then learn from their own actions.

In the words of project coordinator Mar Carrió: “we aim to promote cross-disciplinary skills of undergraduate and graduate students in the field of health and life sciences by creating innovative teaching tools and practices”. The resources will work on such skills as critical and creative thinking and interpersonal skills.

One of the innovative tools will be based on augmented virtual reality. “Immersive scenarios allow students to live a virtual experience and act like professionals. They enable transporting students virtually to difficult professional situations, such as communicating bad news, for example. In this way, they will be able to put their skills into practice and then learn from their own actions”, explains GRECS researcher Marcel Ruiz.

The research carried out so far in the use of immersive scenarios for training shows that learning is more efficient, future professional errors are reduced, and especially students’ motivation and involvement in their learning are greatly increased. 

“The research carried out so far in the use of immersive scenarios for training shows that learning is more efficient, future professional errors are reduced, and especially students’ motivation and involvement in their learning are greatly increased. In short, it promotes independent, experiential learning, has a great capacity to boost motivation and to work on empathy”, Mar Carrió explains. She adds that “working from a cross-disciplinary perspective enables generating learning that professionals can adapt to changing work and life contexts”.

A pilot test is to be carried out with the educational resources, and they will be implemented and evaluated. In the context of the Mar campus, the materials will be incorporated into undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at both UPF and EISMar. The project will also address the training of teachers to implement the educational resources designed for everyday teaching.

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