OSF HealthCare Asks: Could VR Replace Traditional Classroom Learning?

In this recent article complete with video interviews, OSF HealthCare (connected to Jump Simulation), asked “Could Virtual Reality Replace Traditional Classroom Learning” in HealthCare? We think so!

OSF HealthCare Article Excerpt:

It was just early last year that Dr. Matthew Bramlet, Director of Advanced Imaging and Modeling (AIM) at Jump Simulation and his team of engineers developed software capable of translating digital formats of medical scans into Virtual Reality for medical decision making, pre-surgical planning and patient education. The idea was to eliminate the need to 3D print a physical model and reduce the time it takes to view a complete image. It was also Dr. Bramlet’s belief that VR would enable clinicians to explore and experience the anatomy in ways they’ve never been able to before.

“We had some people that blew it up to the size of a cave and would walk through and orient themselves to the anatomy and then have that moment where everything sort of clicked into place in their mind,” said Dr. Bramlet who is also a pediatric cardiologist at the OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois. “Others would keep it down to the size they were looking for and cut through it with cut planes. Since it wasn’t a physical model, there were infinite opportunities for them to look into it.”

Dr. Bramlet says a handful of faculty studying this software at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria (UICOMP) have been able to condense their anatomy lectures from an hour to as low as 15 minutes using patient-specific 3D models to manipulate and explain. That’s in lieu of having to use several PowerPoint slides to display different points of anatomy. Bramlet says the digital media format also allows professors to distribute the immersive learning opportunity in a flipped classroom model where students could potentially study material in the VR space ahead of an actual lecture.

It’s all of this work that got UICOMP interested in doing more formal research around the use of VR for medical education and as a result, produced the Dean’s Innovative Curriculum Awards. This program grants funding to professors making use of technology or ideas that have originated at Jump, a part of OSF Innovation, to create new curriculum. Two faculty members received grants last year to further study whether ENDUVO can be applied in the classroom and used with a wide range of individuals. Dr. David Dominguese, a Research Assistant Professor of Anatomy at UICOMP was one of the first recipients of the award.


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“One thing for sure is that there is always that wow factor,” said Dr. Dominguese. “Students and faculty and others like the technology for certain things, but we also want to see if that wow factor translates to better learning and better teaching.”

Dr. Dominguese says his work is taking place in the newly constructed VR and anatomy lab at UICOMP and includes building content around the anatomy of the knee and shoulder and studying the attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of students and faculty using the technology. 28 people have been participating in the study since February of this year.

Chase Smith, a first-year medical student, is part of the study. He says the software includes a tutorial on how to navigate a lecture which he found pretty intuitive.

“You just kind of find yourself moving ahead in the tutorials and just trying things yourself which I really appreciated,” said Smith. “It made it feel more like you were discovering something rather than being led someplace; you were finding things out on your own.”

Read the Full Article & Watch the Interviews on OSF Healthcare’s Website!


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