How Real is Real Enough in AR/VR and Screen-based Simulations?

Conference Archive

Realities360 2019 Conference - June 25, 2019

Vincent Farquhar

Faculty, Specialty Nursing
British Columbia Institute of Technology

Michelle Kearns

Project Manager and Instructional Designer
British Columbia Institute of Technology

Kathy Kennedy

Program Head, Specialty Nursing
British Columbia Institute of Technology

When facilitating a simulation-based activity, do you sometimes hear participants say, "Yeah, but in the real world, I would do this…"? How real do you need to get with AR, VR, and screen-based simulation activities? In our world of emergency nursing students, realism is critical to meeting the learning outcomes of the program. In order to increase competence and confidence, our emergency nursing students need to be exposed to a multitude of patient cases in simulation form. So which simulation modality (AR/VR/screen-based) provided the most realism and was the most practical—in terms of design, development, and delivery— for on-campus and distance students?

In this session, you'll hear about one nursing program's journey of designing, developing, and delivering three simulation modalities: AR, VR, and screen-based. You'll hear about the lessons we learned when increasing the levels of realism (something as simple as adding a blanket to a seizing patient) to 3-D characters, and the balance between realism and practicality. You'll have an opportunity to see for yourself how a nursing student is immersed in an emergency room scenario, and how the use of VR helps promote feelings of empathy towards patients and improve clinical reasoning skills. You'll leave this session with a better understanding of how realistic your simulations experiences need to be, and which modalities may work best for your situation. 

In this session, you will learn:

  • Which modality (AR/VR/screen-based) is best for your learning objectives
  • What needs to be considered when increasing the fidelity of your simulation
  • What are the deployment considerations for each of the modalities
  • What are the considerations when buying or developing your own application
  • What is the overall impact of each of the modalities in improving the competence and confidence of the learners


Designers, developers, managers, senior leaders (directors, VP, CLO, executive, etc.), educators

Technology discussed in this session:

Unity, Oculus Go, 360 Video, HoloLens


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