Virtual Reality (VR) is here to stay and impacts life as we know it across various fields. A recent study shows that learners using immersive virtual reality are 2.3 times more engaged and emotionally connected to the content than those learning from a computer screen (1).
Maybe you’re thinking about taking the VR leap, but you still have some hesitations. Some of these uncertainties may be the result of VR myths and misconceptions we at UbiSim would love to dispel for you.
1. VR is only for gamers
Sure VR is used often with gaming. However, virtual reality has more and more possibilities as the technology evolves, playing a role in education, fitness, social interaction, medicine, tourism, shopping, design, and more. There’s a lot of power in VR, and it can do great good in the world beyond gaming!
One amazing thing about VR is that users can follow storylines to learn the topic. Imagine, as a nurse-in-training, being able to interact with an elderly patient displaying signs of sepsis and playing out each step of what you can do to help this patient. Our clients at UbiSim who use these simulations range from academic nursing institutions to private companies and training hospitals.
2. VR requires a ton of space
Users want a nice clear space to play in, and VR setups can be flexible. It can be possible to move the coffee table out of the way and push the couch back! One of the standard suggestions for the amount of space needed is 7ft x 7 ft.
All we recommend at UbiSim is 50 square feet of free space for a comfortable experience. There are a lot of possible configurations for setting up the equipment. Our VR simulation expert team can assist you in defining the best possible space arrangement within your space requirements.
3. VR is too expensive
Not all VR will break the bank like it used to, especially when you’re looking to scale software at a training institution. It can be an accessible technology at an affordable price point. According to a study based on the transformation of medical education due to VR, “From an institutional standpoint, VR allows simulations to be delivered at reduced cost with fewer resources” (2).
UbiSim can allow access to complex clinical situations that can be initiated in seconds, with minimal faculty resources, possibly saving money in the long term. Benefits can be quantitative, such as a reduction in errors, improved patient safety, and a faster time to demonstrate competence, or qualitative such as improved student engagement and satisfaction, as well as building interest from prospective students.
4. VR always makes you nauseous
VR sickness or cybersickness is a rare but real issue. One key is to use a VR platform that has accurate proprioception (the sense of bodily awareness and our ability to feel and know the position and movement of our body) so that your brain and body movements stay connected.
There are other ways to reduce the chance of nausea, such as reducing the length of the VR session because exposure time and VR sickness are significantly correlated. So limiting a VR simulation time to 15-20 minutes, or even up to 30 minutes, can substantially reduce the risk of feeling sick.
UbiSim simulations are typically between 15-20 minutes (the time with the headset on). However, a complete simulation experience can take multiple hours because it includes a prebrief, the VR simulation, and a debrief (times can vary based on learner level, performance in the simulation, etc.).
5. VR is counter-productive
Of course, the quality of the VR depends on what is being offered, but it’s helpful to know that “The aviation industry credits VR-based simulation as a major contributor to a nearly 50% reduction in human error-related airline crashes since the 1970s” (3). VR is not just a video game. It’s simulating real-world experiences to make people perform better when they get into those scenarios.
Many benefits come about when VR is used in nursing education. “Virtual reality simulations boost students’ concentration, engagement, confidence, motivation, and creativity, and allow them to put theory into practice and learn at their own pace” (4).
UbiSim is committed to nursing education and helping our clients put theory into practice. Here’s a quote from a UbiSim customer: “We realized that having a student complete a scenario in UbiSim provided almost an identical clinical experience for the student.” – Karen Manning, Dean, Division of Nursing at Labouré College of Healthcare.
6. VR is too new
Actually, one of the first augmented reality head-mounted displays can be traced back to 1966: the Sword of Damocles (5). The term “virtual reality” entered the landscape when the founder of VPL Research, Jaron Lanier, began making immersive virtual environments. Further, VR has been researched for 25 years, and there are over 1000 papers on the topic (6).
UbiSim was founded in 2016 and has been continuously updated and improved since then. We were founded pre-pandemic because we know the value of VR in nursing education.
Did you enjoy learning more about VR myths and UbiSim’s applications? At UbiSim, it is our mission to make immersive virtual reality practical and useful for nursing education. We aim for our technology to bridge the gap between knowledge and application.
(1) PwC. (2020). The Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Soft Skills Training in the Enterprise. Retrieved from https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/technology/emerging-technology/assets/pwc-understanding-the-effectiveness-of-soft-skills-training-in-the-enterprise-a-study.pdf
(2) Pottle J. Virtual reality and the transformation of medical education. Future Healthc J. 2019 Oct;6(3):181-185. doi: 10.7861/fhj.2019-0036. PMID: 31660522; PMCID: PMC6798020.
(3) Levin A. Fewer crashes caused by pilots. USA Today 2004. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-03-01-crash_x.htm [Accessed 12 April 2019]. [Google Scholar] [Ref list]
(4) Bayram, S. B. , & Caliskan, N. (2020). The Use of Virtual Reality Simulations in Nursing Education, and Patient Safety. In S. P. Stawicki, & M. S. Firstenberg (Eds.), Contemporary Topics in Patient Safety – Volume 1. IntechOpen. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.94108
(5) Ultimate History of Video Games. (2018). Sword of Damocles (1966) – First augmented reality head-mounted display. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVUgfUvP4uk
(6) Cipresso, P. Giglioli, I. Alice, C. Raya, A. Riva, G. (2018). The Past, Present, and Future of Virtual and Augmented Reality Research: A Network and Cluster Analysis of the Literature. Frontiers in Psychology. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02086