The Immersive Learning Factory Project
The College of Animal Welfare has taken skills training to new heights with the release of their new Virtual Reality Technology as part of their ‘Learning Without Limits’ project.
The project is the result of several years of work, starting back in 2020 and from the outset, the College has worked closely with The Immersive Learning Factory to create the OSCE tasks in Virtual Reality to form a suite of modernised training tools for Veterinary Nurses. The team has developed a virtual clinical skills environment where users can practice the hyper-realistic scenarios for the tasks without limits.
The ultimate aim? To increase muscle memory to further help students completing their OSCE examinations and reduce knowledge decay.
The core purpose of VR is to set the scene for engaging interactions throughout the experience; creating effective virtual training requires a lot more than just a headset. The Immersive Learning Factory understands that users benefit from a memorable and enjoyable experience if the world they are immersed in is easy to engage with and relevant to their needs.
One thing was clear from the outset; it was crucial that the immersive learning was accessible to all. After all, this was the main driver behind the project – enabling access to veterinary nurse training from anywhere!
Quick onboarding was key; we want our users to be able to step into the virtual environment and quickly feel at ease and work through the tasks at a comfortable, focused pace without being overwhelmed.
The College hopes to continue to explore and innovate educational technology tools to optimise the experience and opportunities given during student’s journeys. Here are a few benefits of using Virtual Reality for Veterinary Nurse training…
Wanting to become a veterinary nurse may present geographic and financial challenges when frequently needing to travel long distances to access a clinical skills environment. Utilising virtual reality reduces the need to travel long distances, cost and lack of transport and travel time.
Improved confidence and performance
Repeated participation creates muscle memory which can assist students when preparing for exams to give them more confidence prior to exams and ultimately improve their performance during exams.
Reduce material usage and waste
Practicing OSCE tasks repeatedly in clinical skills labs can not only cause a large amount of material usage, which can have a financial impact, but also generates large volumes of clinical and general waste. Using virtual reality technology as a training aid removes the need for as many physical clinical practical sessions, thus reducing the waste and environmental impact created, without compromising student learning and experience.
The use of virtual reality as a training aid to complement traditional learning also provides students with an avenue for active and dynamic learning, which can lead to high engagement and motivation, increase learning retention and boost creativity.
The College recently welcomed students and employers from the veterinary nursing field to a showcase event at their Huntingdon campus in Cambridgeshire. The purpose of the event was to highlight the potential applications of VR technology and give representatives a chance to try out the system and feedback their thoughts. The event was a huge success with nothing but positive feedback from both students and employers.
The College has also launched a spin off company called ‘The Immersive Learning Factory Limited’ to offer virtual reality development services to other Colleges and Universities as well as for commercial applications. Six new jobs have already been created in building a team of talented developers with the know how and expertise to create virtual reality training programmes quickly and in a cost effective manner.
Ready to see more?
The College and The Immersive Learning Factory team are already working on their next training courses to be created in Virtual Reality. These include the practical skills tasks for the BSc (Hons) degree in Veterinary Nursing, the Level 3 Apprenticeship and Diploma in Equine Veterinary Nursing and the VetSkill Level 4 Certificate for Suitably Qualified Persons (SQP) regulated programmes.