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Business Problem   

At Bow Valley College (BVC), students typically learn how to perform examinations on either fellow, usually healthy, students or mannequins. As such, they’re unlikely to encounter any abnormal conditions. Additionally, the exam is quite subjective, as instructor-examiners observe and grade students on their technique. This results in a less-than-lifelike learning experience for students who feel less confident and competent when they start their clinical practice. It also limits the accuracy and reportability of the exam and is costly to facilitate. To bridge this gap, BVC engaged us to design and develop a specialized program that would expose students to various conditions prior to their clinical placements. 


Learning Solution  

The solution that excited BVC and met their business objectives was to develop a virtual reality respiratory assessment tool that would serve as a cumulative exam for nursing students enrolled in the college’s Practical Nurse Diploma program. Today, this program has become a centrepiece of the program as it challenges students to identify a variety of respiratory, cardiovascular, and other conditions that are randomized “inside” the lungs of virtual patients. Upon entering the VR environment, learners use hand controllers to conduct a focused physical examination of a patient. The technology provides a realistic visual environment, reinforced with audio cues and vibrations, of discrete locations common to specific conditions. 


By training learners for the clinical setting through virtual reality, we can give them an immersive patient experience that initiates soft skills and develops empathy. Learners develop proficiency through environmental cues such as vital signs, observations of the patient’s speech and symptom assessment. The system also gives educators an authentic and objective form of student assessment. It uses a rubric to track thousands of data points in each learner’s assessment. It then collates the data into a meaningful learning measure. 


To view a first-person video demonstration of this program, click here: 

TLN – VR – BVC EENT & Cardio Different Inspection Points

Our work with Bow Valley College has garnered nation-wide attention, as demonstrated by the Globe & Mail article published earlier this year. You can access the article and how we have helped transform their program offering here.

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