Twenty-First Century Immersion Technologies in Health Professions Pedagogy

Twenty-First Century Immersion Technologies in Health Professions Pedagogy

Copyright: © 2025 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-7366-5.ch023
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This encyclopedia entry provides insight into the justification of pedagogy in the context of extended reality (XR), which itself encompasses virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed/hybrid reality (MR), and how all have evolved into an ongoing source of complex ambiguity over the last decade, which the COVID-19 pandemic only highlighted and radically exacerbated. Being able to understand and operationalize each in the context of health professions pedagogy and scholarship became a necessity, which few would now ever question but which still raises issues in relation to the practices of risk assessment and management in professional fields of practice such as medicine, nursing, midwifery, and allied health professions practice.
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“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

The justification of pedagogy in the context of Extended Reality (XR), which encompasses Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed/Hybrid Reality (MR) has become an ongoing source of complex ambiguity over the last decade, that the COVID-19 pandemic has only served to exacerbate (van der Niet and Bleakley, 2021). Ensuring the validity and reliability of XR experiences within health professions education remains central to the potential to rule out technologies as adjuncts to optimal pedagogic practice as an authentic means of providing insight and illumination of medical contexts, scenarios, and disease processes (McGrath et al, 2018). For the purposes of this chapter there will be four fundamental operationally definitive terms of what the umbrella term XR encompasses, firstly VR refers to the use of computer technology in the creation of simulated learning environments. Secondly, AR pertains to the addition of computerised content as an overlay to reality, which means that learners can actively interact both with real world and augmentations of it at the same time. Mixed or hybrid reality refers to the transection of virtual worlds and actual worlds, where physical and computerised objects can interact and exist concurrently. XR encompasses all of these and as a collective they have revolutionised health and medical training, particularly in relation to the practise of risk management and professional role identity in life and death situations, for example obstetric emergencies, as reported by Hayes, Hinshaw and Petrie (2018).

Training for the strategic management of risk in healthcare practice in situated contexts of healthcare provision has been a key focus in the use of XR in practice (Hilty et al, 2020). Not only does it involve rational aspects of cognitive knowledge or the purist demonstration of psychomotor skills and affective domain learning (Zulkilfli, 2019). It also encompasses the intuitive, tacit and largely intangible intellectual instincts that develop with sustained experiential learning (Humpherys, Bakir and Babb, 2021). One of the key issues has been the challenge of assessing the last of these, what XR has enabled is the benchmarking of perceived levels of interprofessional and multi-disciplinary teamwork, where intuitive knowledge can be used to measure risk, regardless of the level of the organisational hierarchy within which personnel are employed (Goh and Sandars, 2020; Hayes, Hinshaw and Petrie, 2018). This chapter will explore the key epistemologies or ways of knowing, from a theoretical perspective, that can be used to ensure the level of authenticity necessary to highlight the pedagogical shifts in the application of learning theory which now characterise responsive curriculum design and adaptation to accommodate XR in practice.

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