One of the main objectives of ITSHEC project is to design, pilot, implement and evaluate teaching-learning strategies for undergraduate and postgraduate training that aim to address learning outcomes based on Transversal Skills. The key skills that will be addressed are critical and creative thinking, interpersonal/socio-emotional and citizen-oriented skills and learning to learn.
To promote the development of transversal skills in Higher Education students, we are using innovative educational strategies, such as Virtual Reality. We will produce three immersive learning experiences to develop every transversal skill. The first resource we have produced is for Interpersonal and socio-emotional skills. This immersive experience is about a patient with a history of self-harm that is admitted to the emergency department in an ambulance.
Interpersonal and socio-emotional VR experience was piloted by students of healthcare and social sciences in the ITSHEC’s Intensive Program on Virtual Reality that was held between 3 and 7 October 2022, in Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki (Finland). It comprised a Virtual Reality 5-day training program offered to Master’s degree and degree students in Healthcare and Social Sciences. The goal was to provide students with both theoretical and practical first-hand knowledge of immersive technologies and their applications in Learning, especially regarding Transversal Skills. As a part of the mentioned program, students were able to pilot ITSHEC’s first VR production, a VR Learning experience on Interpersonal and socio-emotional skills.
Students saw the experience with Virtual Reality headsets, made decisions as the main characters in it and after all the group discussed it together, paying special attention to lessons learned and feelings they experienced.
Students answered a questionnaire taking in account 4 dimensions, that were tool suitability, learning outcomes, transfer to professional settings and VR as a learning methodology. They used a scale from 1 to 4, where 1 means “nothing at all” and 4 means “a lot”. The overall score for the VR experience they piloted was 3.1.
The experience in piloting VR Learning experience on Interpersonal and socio-emotional skills with the students of the Intensive Program on Virtual Reality was very useful. The fact that they were students from different countries and with diverse studies made the group very enriching. The students were in the last years of medicine, social services, human biology and nursing. They come from the University of Split (UNIST), Croatia; Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (MUAS), Finland; Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and Escola Superior d’Infermeria del Mar (ESIMar Nursing School) both from Spain.
In reference to Tool suitability, students affirmed with a score from 3.1 out of 4, that the VR scenario was very good contextualized with situations relevant to them, was visually realistic and that they found it engaging. Also they found very useful being able to make different decisions for a single situation and being able to compare the consequences of each one (score 3.3).
In reference to Learning outcomes all students agree with a score from 3.7 out of 4 that the whole learning experience helped them to learn new skills and competences to manage professional situations. Also after the whole learning experience they felt that they could make better choices regarding professional situations (score 3.1).
In Transferring to professional settings, students felt themselves prepared to facilitate an activity that will aim to create an immersive experience with other people (score 3.4).
Students agree that using a VR experience as a learning methodology is a very good tool to help in boosting their knowledge retention (score 3.8) and they clearly recommend this kind of learning methodology to others (score 3.4).
About learning different competences (interpersonal and socio emotional skills (score 3.4), critical and creative thinking (score 3.1), and learning to learn (score 3.1)) the results show that although interpersonal and socio emotional skill obtained a higher score, all transversal skills are fully related, so it’s difficult focus in one of them, since a lot of factors are involved in learning. Depending on the studies you have completed and your personal experiences, a certain scene can produce different feelings in one person from another. Also the physical and mental state in which you find yourself at the time of seeing the experience can influence the perceptions you will have and the knowledge you can acquire thanks to that experience.
From ITSHEC project we are very proud that our first VR immersive experience produced has been very well rated and valued by the first students who have been able to experience it. The good feedback from the students has shown the potential that innovative activities have in their training, since they enhance and improve their learning in aspects that are dealt with less frequently during their training, such as transversal skills.
In the ITSHEC project we will produce three VR scenarios, one for each skill. The first and second scenarios (interpersonal and socio emotional skill and learning to learn) are already finished and piloted. Soon it will be available with free access on our website (www.itshec.upf.edu). The third scenario (critical and creative thinking) is being developed during these months by ITSHEC partners. Also, a methodological guide about the use of Virtual Reality will be produced in order to help students and teachers in how to use this methodology to obtain the best results. All VR scenarios and VR methodological guide will be available for free on the ITSHEC website.
The ITSHEC project aims to improve the training of healthcare and social services professionals in transversal skills throughout the undergraduate and postgraduate training journey. ITSHEC is co-funded by the Erasmus+ project of the European Union.
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