AbstractsMedical & Health Science

The impact of the VERT virtual reality system on teaching and learning associated with radiation therapy planning skills in the second year of the Bachelor of Radiation Therapy

by Jonathan Paul Kane

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: Radiation therapy; simulation; virtual reality; education; teaching and learning; qualitative; grounded theory; academic; clinical; staff; students
Record ID: 1303138
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5027


The Department of Radiation Therapy, University of Otago Wellington recently acquired VERT, an immersive, virtual reality, radiation therapy simulation-based training system. The department has been integrating the system into the teaching of its undergraduate programme. Simulation has been used for a number of years in the training of health professionals and literature around this technique tends to be positive. Little has been written concerning the VERT simulation system in particular. This study aimed to investigate the impact on teaching practice and student learning, with particular reference to a Radiation Therapy Planning Concepts paper (RADT216) in the second year of the Bachelor of Radiation Therapy (BRT) programme. RADT216 requires students to develop the ability to generate and critically appraise treatment plans for a variety of scenarios. Given the VERT system’s inherent ability to visually represent information in novel ways, it is important to investigate student and staff perceptions around the impact of VERT on the teaching and learning of the concepts involved. This investigation should inform the continued integration of the technology into teaching this paper and the programme as a whole. A constructivist grounded theory approach was utilised in study design, data collection and analysis. Data was collected from students and staff (both academic and clinical) responsible for teaching planning skills. Data was also gathered from one of the inventors of the VERT system. Students reported frustration with a lack of exposure to the system. They reported that the limited use they had of the system was hampered by a perceived lack of training and planning on the part of staff. Despite expressing dissatisfaction with their involvement in the integration of the system, students did express some empathy with staff and provided positive feedback. There were examples of useful experiences with VERT and students provided their insights into additional ways to use the system. Students did perceive there was sufficient potential in using the system to warrant continued development. There were high expectations for the integration of the system into the BRT. Academic staff also indicated a variety of frustrations with initial efforts to integrate the system into their teaching. They acknowledged the students involved in this study did not have the best experience with the system. Disparity in the training for and confidence in using VERT, insufficient time for preparation and limitations of the systems capabilities were indicated as contributing factors. Staff indicated they had learned useful lessons both on how to better use VERT and what to avoid. They had been challenged but were keen to continue integrating the system into their teaching. Clinical staff had much a more limited experience and understanding of VERT. They did however anticipate a range of possibilities in the academic and clinical setting. They viewed the procurement of VERT as a positive step in keeping with recent developments in the…