Virtual reality project to train new paramedics

Students wearing 3D glasses

Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Sciences, Alan Rice, has been working on the PREVIEW project, testing a virtual reality replacement to problem based learning (PBL).

Traditionally, students have developed decision-making skills by studying simulated cases together, but the trend is now to spend more time learning individually at the workplace. The PREVIEW study suggests that an immersive 3D environment could provide greater realism, active decision-making and a suitable environment for collaboration amongst work-based learners meeting remotely.

The research team designed several virtual patient scenarios in second life which were tested with paramedic students and tutors. Feedback indicated that the second life environment engages students effectively in learning, despite some technology barriers, and students believe it could provide a more authentic learning environment than classroom-based PBL.