Assessment of the utility of Mixed Reality in medical education
June 28, 2022
Radek Kolecki, Agnieszka Pręgowska, Julianna Dąbrowa, Jerzy Skuci nski, Tomasz Pulanecki, Piotr Walecki, Peter M. van Dam, Dariusz Dudek, Piotr Richter, Klaudia Proniewska
Background: Immersive technologies like Mixed Reality (MR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are becoming increasingly popular and gain user trust across various fields, particularly in medicine. In this paper we will use the general term Mixed Reality (MR) to refer to the various virtual reality methods, namely VR and AR. These new immersive technologies require varying degrees of instruction, both in their practice use, as well as in how to adjust to interacting with 3D virtual spaces. This study assesses the pedagogical value of these immersive technologies in medical education.
Method: We surveyed a group of 211 students and 47 academic faculty at a medical college regarding potential applications of MR in the medical curriculum by using a questionnaire comprised of eight questions. Results were analyzed accounting for user age and professional position, i.e., student vs faculty.
Results: 70% of students and 60% of the academic faculty think that MR-supplemented education is advantageous over a classical instruction. Most highly valued were the 3D visualization capabilities of MR, especially in anatomy classes. There was no significant statistical difference between students and faculty responders. Moreover, screensharing between faculty and students contributed to better, longer lasting absorption of knowledge. Surprisingly, the main issue was related to availability, i.e., only 5% of students had access to MR, while 17% of faculty use MR regularly, and 36% occasionally.
Conclusions: MR technology can be a valuable resource that supports traditional medical education, especially via 3D anatomy classes, however MR availability needs to be increased. Moreover, MR expands the capabilities and effectiveness of remote learning, which was normalized during the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure effective student and patient education. MR-based lessons, or even select modules, provide a unique opportunity to exchange experiences inside and outside the medical community.