John Abbott College offers a wide variety of technical and pre-university programs in a completely English-speaking environment. This college is known for offering high quality training for students to be well prepared for their future careers.
Among all the programs offered, the nursing program is recognized for its innovative teaching techniques which, for the past year, have included virtual reality training developed by the Etherlab team. We recently spoke with Mrs. Ute Beffert, Teacher at the John Abbott College Nursing Program, to learn more about the motivations behind the use of virtual reality and the impacts of this training on learners.
Reduce costs related to simulations :
Students in the nursing program must learn how to communicate well with their patients and how to act in crisis situations. In order to do this, John Abbott College would hire professional actors to introduce students to various situations that they would encounter during their career. However, the cost of hiring these actors was quite high, limiting the number of simulations offered.
Once the virtual reality training was in place, the students were then able to access several scenarios. Developed in collaboration with the Etherlab team, the scenarios present several simulations where the learner must interact with a patient.Teachers also have the ability to change the scenarios and the type of patient to provide various simulations.
Provide safe training :
Prior to the use of virtual reality, nursing students went directly to hospitals or nursing homes to experience the immersion of the profession. While the experience was rewarding for the student, it could also put their safety at risk. “In the hospital setting, as soon as a patient is aggressive, we had to pull the students out, so they couldn’t really experience it, there were too many safety risks,” explains Mrs. Beffert. Today, another issue has emerged, with COVID-19 hospitals are much less accessible than before !
With the use of virtual reality, students can now experience a safe and immersive hospital environment. In addition, thanks to the voice recognition integrated into the simulation, the learner can discuss with the patient in crisis. This is an experience that would not have been possible in actual time.
Adapt to the new generation :
Knowing the new generation of students well, John Abbott College is keen to innovate its teaching techniques to provide the best educational experience. Born in the mid-1990s, avid users of social networking, and having grown up with smart phones and tablets, the new generation cultivates an almost natural approach to modern technology. These technophiles need diverse intellectual stimulation.
During classes, students must work in teams. It is unanimous; the “WOW” effect is there. Nearly 60 students were able to benefit from these trainings and the reality of the simulations allowed them to fully understand the work context in which they will have to operate. The rate of commitment to the program also increased once the immersive training was in place. For the students, having the scenarios include voice recognition is a big plus! They greatly appreciate being able to experience various situations that allow them to be well prepared for the different contexts that await them.
In conclusion, John Abbott College was able to adapt to social changes in order to optimize the learning environment for its students. The virtual reality training implemented by the nursing program allows the college to see its training costs decrease and to have a better place on the education market. Their adaptability to new technologies, generational needs and the current pandemic context is an example for all to follow.