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Is VR/AR the Future in Healthcare Education?

The short answer is yes. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are the future of healthcare education.

Medical students studying to become the next generation of healthcare professionals are learning differently than the medical students of the past. Memorizing facts and figures has been the norm of learning methods in the era before online learning. Looking at this study of Generation Z (ages 11-17), we can get a glimpse of how the newest generation is learning. The youngest and brightest minds are learning from Doing/Creating, not from listening or reading, and unfortunately educators have not adjusted their curriculum to offer Doing/Creating as the main form of engagement for these students.

Gen Z Teaching Methods by Adobe Education Exchange

This is where VR/AR will play an important role in educating the next batch of doctors, surgeons, and healthcare professionals. Body Scientific and Enduvo are teaming up to get the news out there. If you are not implementing VR/AR into your curriculum, you will be left behind in the trend of reality-based learning. Marcelo Oliver, Owner of Body Scientific, joined up with Leader Healthcare at the GESS Dubai 2020 Education Exhibition and Conference to showcase VR learning for the classroom. See the short promotional video here.

VR learing
Marcelo Oliver of Body Scientific International demonstrating VR Classroom software

A VR lecture is composed of mini modules, 5 minutes or less each. Each student is in the learning environment and can proceed at their own pace. The user experiences multiple levels of learning inside the virtual space; manipulating and viewing a 3D object, viewing 2D illustrations with labels, hearing the instructor's voice and lesson, and answering quiz questions. Most importantly, the user learns at his/her own pace, by pausing the lecture at any point. If the user needs more time rotating and observing the model, the pause/play feature makes the user in control of the pacing of the lecture.

Inside the VR module with Body Scientific

Inside the VR environment, users are not distracted by their mobile devices or other classmates, they are fully engaged and often lose track of time. After a session inside a VR lecture, students were asked how long they believed to be inside the virtual lesson and their answers were always less than the actual recorded time. This method of learning is especially helpful to students that are easily distracted. Memory retention is stronger in an environment that is multi-sensory and engages an emotional response. The outcome will be higher knowledge retention.

We already know simulation-based education is valuable for surgical students learning laparoscopic procedures or for nurses evaluating actual client simulations in a safe environment. VR lectures can be used for enhancing skills for clinical practices. The software is easy for a user without technology expertise to understand. This allows experts in the field to step in as the educators. The content providers, such as Body Scientific, can add the visuals and media to supplement the expertly guided VR module.

AR is leading the way alongside VR, especially with the general public using their mobile devices for online learning more than ever before. If you study the global market, not everyone owns a desktop computer but nearly everyone owns a mobile device. With AR technology now making the transition to become web browser based, an app is no longer needed to view 2D or 3D animations on your device.

Body Scientific is already experimenting with creating 2D animations to enhance their printed images in textbooks. Most publishing companies are working feverishly to catch up to the e-learning space with e-pubs and digital learning, however they are missing inevitable the AR trend. AR can be added to images already printed, no need to wait for the next edition of a book.

AR example in printed publications, example of heart valves opening and closing

If you are ready to add AR or VR enhancements to your next project, or want to learn more what Body Scientific can offer for your online or print educational initiative, please fill out a contact form and we will help guide you to be augmented media saavy with your next project.


  1. Adobe Education. Research: Gen Z in the Classroom.. Published Nov 11, 2016. Updated June 8. 2019. Accessed Feb 27, 2020.

  2. Case Study: University of Illinois College of Medicine, Peoria - HP Workstations and VR technology transform medical student education. May 2018. Accessed Feb 27, 2020.

  3. Dinsmore A. Research Backs Benefits of VR Training. June 7, 2018. Accessed Feb 27, 2020.

  4. Smith P, Hamilton B. The Effects of Virtual Reality Simulation as a Teaching Strategy for Skills Preparation in Nursing Students. Clin Simul Nurs. 2015;11(1):52-58. doi:10.1016/j.ecns.2014.10.001

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