ITSHEC’s Intensive Program on Virtual Reality 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. The course combined theoretical and practical sessions together with field visits and teamwork sessions. It took place in Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, Finland, between 3 and 7 October 2022.
The intensive week It all started with an introduction to eXtended Reality technology and its applications, specially focusing on Health and Social Work Learning and Transversal Skills. Then students were able to pilot ITSHEC’s first VR production, a VR Learning experience on Interpersonal and socio-emotional skills. This is the first of a series of three VR Learning Experiences included on ITSHEC’s Intellectual Output 4. This way, we were able to incorporate user feedback to the Learning Experience.
After the introduction and the pilot, we introduced students to how to build VR Learning Experiences so they could build their own. We provided students with space, time, and accompaniment so they could design their immersive technology applications. Throughout the sessions, students worked on VR resources about transversal skills (Interpersonal and Socio Emotional, Critical and Creative Thinking and Learning to Learn) to raise awareness and knowledge of the use of immersive technology to improve transversal skills.
The “Intensive Program on Virtual Reality” was organised in the context of the European project ITSHEC Integration of Transversal Skills into Health and Social care, Higher Education and the Curriculum – and involved students from different European Universities: 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.
This activity is part of one of the 3 Intellectual Output of the Project: “Virtual Reality: educational resources for the development of students’ transversal skills”, which aims to design and piloting of an application to foster the development of students’ transversal skills in the field of healthcare and social care. The application will have a methodological line for each transversal skill (critical thinking, interpersonal skills and learning to learn) and one training itinerary will be designed and piloted for each methodological line. A training itinerary consists of a set of competencies which are trained using a scenario, storytelling, and a challenge that the student must solve as the main actor in the experience.
INTENSIVE PROGRAM ON VIRTUAL REALITY
In this video you can see a summary of the VR Intensive week.
The first day was devoted to getting to know each others and introducing Metropolia University and the intensive week program. Students also began their first contacts with Virtual Reality headsets.
Students answered a brief questionnaire about transversal skills (Critical and Creative Thinking, Interpersonal/socio-emotional skills and Learning to Learn) and also about their knowledge on Virtual Reality. This questionnaire was answered again at the end of the week to compare learning effectiveness.
Students piloted ITSHEC’s first IO4 (Intellectual Output 4) resource. That is an Immersive Learning Experience about Interpersonal and socio-emotional skills. They saw this 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 experimented in the experience.
After piloting the VR Learning Experience, participants were introduced to an entrepreneurial initiative at the HyMy-Village, a multidisciplinary learning and development environment at Myllypuro campus and based on an ecosystem approach. There, wellbeing and health services are also provided by Metropolia University students, under the supervision of professional experts and teachers, at affordable prices. We also visited simulation spaces in Metropolia University in which students could manage difficult situations like in real life.
Students began to learn how to build their own Immersive Learning Experience. They worked in two groups to develop two different scenarios with their own storyboard.
Before starting, we explained to them that it is important to note the motivation/goals of the experience, transversal skills and characters that would be involved in each scene, and also the filming planning. It’s important to make the user conscient about what happened in the scenes and what are their feelings during the experience.
Intensive week participants also visited the Helsinki XR Center, which is an incubator for talent in the field of eXtended Reality (Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality). They offer workspace, equipment, co-learning and mentoring for teams and also for companies and other organizations. They have a lot of high-level and state-of-the-art equipment students were able to use. This way, they manage to realize first-hand the full potential of these technologies.
Students began with Immersive Learning Experience filming. They previously got familiar with VR cameras during the teamwork sessions. They developed a story with learning goals and characters and they started to film the different scenes using the VR cameras.
Here you can see a video with the making-of.
Intensive week participants also visited Malminkartano Youth Centre, which is a game-oriented open space for 9–18-year-olds. It is an accessible youth centre opened in 2020, and the facilities are substance-free, discrimination-free and open to all. During open activities, several youth workers are present at the youth centre.
Last day students could see their own Immersive Learning Experiences on Virtual Reality headsets. They were able to see the result of their efforts in developing a story with their characters, and the different resolution between the choices they had prepared. The students were very happy to visualize the experience that they themselves had prepared and filmed.
The two groups of students presented their work, impressions, motivations and learning outcomes they reached during the week and how much they had learned during the different sessions. Students discussed with the whole group their reflections on the transversal skills used at different moments of the week and which challenges encountered throughout the sessions. They also reflected about usefulness on Immersive Learning Experiences, and what could be next steps to use them in educational environments.
We are very enthusiastic about the participation of the students in the different activities that we have proposed during the week, since they have carried them out with great interest. It was a very enriching opportunity for pilot the first Virtual Reality experience that we have developed for ITSHEC project, and with positive feedback from students.
The evaluation of the questionnaires answered by the students at the beginning and at the end of the week about their knowledge on Virtual Reality, has shown us that they have acquired a lot of knowledge during the week, especially regarding it’s relation with Transversal Skills. They have highlighted their greater knowledge of extended reality (Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality), both in its application in different areas and in the way to develop it properly to be useful within a broader training program. Students have also been able to realize that to develop really useful Virtual Reality training, it is necessary to adequately describe pedagogical objectives. This allows this activity to be carried out fully focused on the results we want to obtain, either with an improvement in transversal skills, as it is the goal of this project, or in any learning in health, social or business field.
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.
Follow ITSHEC news in our Twitter: https://twitter.com/ItshecE
Contact us: email@example.com