DiViFaG: Virtual Learning to support health education

VR in educational context

The use of virtual reality (VR) technology in education rises in popularity, especially in professions that include the training of practical skills. This often involves the training of situations that might in reality be dangerous, hard to reproduce or expensive when repeated several times. Those challenges can be overcome by creating virtual learning applications that offer the possibility to train critical situations in safe and controllable environments. For example, extinguishing a fire or practicing a dangerous surgery can be practiced without risk. Rare situations can be simulated in VR and repeated several times, which might be hard or impossible in real life. Finally, when it comes to training scenarios that involve multiple people, those can meet in VR, represented by virtual avatars that match the desired role. Therefore, no organization of a meeting with multiple people at the same place is necessary. The resulting training environments can then be adjusted to the learner's skill levels and the teacher's needs. Therefore, the inclusion of VR training scenarios in education can be beneficial for both the students and the teachers.
example of a virtual reality training application to train infusion preparation with an inserted image of a user

The project DiViFaG (Digitale und Virtuell unterstützte Fallarbeit in den Gesundheitsberufen) is going to make use of the benefits that VR training simulations offer in the context of medical and health care education. In this field, students often report that they feel a lack of sufficient training in communication and practical skills. Especially the training of cooperation with other professions (e.g. medicine and nursing) is rarely included in the regular education. Therefore, multiple training scenarios will be designed by all project partners which will allow students an autonomous and interprofessional practice of those skills as well as to enable teachers to adjust the designed scenarios to the individual needs and directly access their students’ results. To make this level of controllability easier accessible, the VR applications will be integrated into existing learning management systems (LMS).

The implemented scenarios will be evaluated from the perspective of both teachers and students. It will be analyzed if both groups benefit from the use of VR training simulations and if the tools are feasible to use for exams

Adaptive Training in VR

To make further use of the high controllability that VR environments offer, user data will be evaluated during runtime, including behavioral data as well as gaze based data. This enables the measurement of mental states such as cognitive load and trainee expertise. The training environment will then adapt to those measurements by changing the amount and type of hints and guidance to provide encouragement and feedback on a level appropriated to the learner's skill. Furthermore, the task design can be changed from a recogntion to a recall task to build more on the previous knowledge of the learner and create a more demanding task.
This attempt to improve the learning outcome by an adaptable learning environment is based on the cognitivist learning theory that nowadays often finds usage in schools. The impact of the introduced changes on the learning experience and the effect on the learner's memory will be evaluated to create learning environments that are highly benefitial for the learner.

Team Emden

Responsible Investigators:

Research Assistants:
Dennis Jongebloed
Lars Pastoor
Lisa Meijer

Project Partners

The team from HS Emden/Leer is responsible for the implementation of the VR applications. The subject-specific content for the medicine and health care learning scenarios is given by HS Osnabrück, FH Bielefeld and Bielefeld University. Didactical input also comes from Bielefeld University.