VR glasses inspire learning
A development group for the utilisation of VR glasses, consisting of five senior lecturers in nursing, operates at Laurea’s Otaniemi campus: Anna-Kaisa Hankaniemi, Pirjo Huikko, Pia Lahtinen, Minna Nikula and Anna Ojala. In addition to teaching, the group also conducts research and publishes articles related to virtual reality, collecting feedback and demonstrating VR glasses to various target groups.
The group recently published a new paper on how virtual reality inspires nursing and public health nursing students to learn. Read the paper in Finnish. For this purpose, feedback was collected from more than 100 students on the use of VR glasses in their studies.
“Comments received from students are really inspiring, and it is a pleasure to be teaching,” says Pia Lahtinen.
“The students have provided feedback, among other things, on how well they are learning using the VR glasses, and they would like to see them applied more widely to their studies. You seldom hear such superlatives – meaning how great and wonderful this is.”
According to the students, they get absorbed in the study themes in a completely different way with VR glasses.
In connection with using VR glasses, there is talk about immersion, i.e., immersion in virtual reality.
“According to the students, they get absorbed in the study themes in a completely different way compared to watching videos in a classroom, for example,” says Pia Lahtinen.
“In the past, students used to look at pictures in textbooks, but now, thanks to the VR glasses, they can walk inside the lungs and examine them from within,” says Pirjo Huikko
Projects and new technology
In addition to VR glasses, Laurea has also introduced other new technologies, such as a speech-controlled, head-mounted smart camera. This enables online streaming and recording of teaching situations which require meticulousness.
“For example, when demonstrating venous blood sampling, a video is displayed on the screen in real time, with all students being able to see the procedure close up,” Pirjo Huikko says.
In addition to VR glasses and speech controlled camera, Laurea also uses a variety of robotics, such as Double3 remote presence device and Pepper robot. They have been utilised and will be utilised in projects, along with partners.
Sari Heikkinen, Research Programme Director from the Sustainable and versatile social and health care research programme, says that, within RDI activities, also project work on VR glasses is being carried out and project applications are being submitted.
“As it is, we already have equipment and expertise and have conducted testing to such an extent that it will definitely be used in projects as well, she says.
“New projects are being planned, and we should always look at applications from the point of view of our specific competences and expertise. Within the framework of such projects, we might be able to develop something different and forge both national and international partnerships.”
In the future, new business might also be developed from Laurea’s VR expertise.
“That is definitely an opportunity for us. Laurea has no shortage of expertise or imagination; rather on the contrary,” says Sari Heikkinen, clearly pleased.