Virtual reality is expected to play an important role in the future of learning.

The new reality of health education

Immersive technologies have the potential to disrupt health education and for Bradley Chesham, founder and director of Bundle of Rays, it is just a matter of when, not if. 

Mr Chesham started Bundle of Rays about two years ago with the business utilising Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) for e-learning. The goal: to empower health professionals to be better skilled and qualified to promote timely, informed decisions about patient care. 

An intensive care nurse for about 15 years, Mr Chesham has mixed acute tertiary intensive care nursing experience, along with remote medicine. Some of his deployments have included within Mosul, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico, and Norway. 

He “knows nursing” and believes immersive technology is the new reality of education. 

“I lived in London for 10 years and spent most of my career in Europe. My best friend curated an art gallery and most of the exhibitions used some form of technology (VR, AR, 3D printing etc),” he said. “Once I got exposed to the technology, I thought about it in my work context.” 

While digital technologies can be used to improve the lives of people, for some, using VR as an educational tool could potentially cause cybersickness, which presents similar to motion sickness. 

“Cybersickness is something the industry needs to be aware of. People believe they will get cyber sick before they try it,” Mr Chesham said although he believes it is less likely for e-learning participants.  

The reason? For health care education the individual is in control of their own movements, while in a game scenario there may be a disconnect such as being in a ‘moving’ car while you are standing still. 

Currently, Mr Chesham said VR is often used for soft skills such as leadership training and conflict resolution, in addition to clinical simulations (clinical care, resuscitation etc), anatomy, and collaborative VR.  

Mr Chesham believes immersive technology could provide a solution to providing regular, quality training for medical professionals. Rather than reaching for a textbook or PowerPoint, he said people will eventually reach for VR. 

“If I’m teaching you about the heart, and we are in the heart, that contextual learning is very powerful.” 

However, while the concept of spatial computing is coming to society, people still need time to adapt to the new technology. Mr Chesham said it is important for industry to build best practice with research key. 

“Technology is coming but how does the technology get certified to meet its need,” he said. “I’m already writing some papers … you can’t validate a change till you research it to the nth degree.” 

Bradley Chesham presented What is the reality of nursing education? The emergence of immersive technologies VR & AR’ at the 2021 Emergency Nursing Education Symposium in Sydney on 29 May. 


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