Incorporating Mixed Reality for Knowledge Retention in Physiology, Anatomy, Pathology, and Pharmacology Interdisciplinary Education: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Vineesha Veer, Charlotte Phelps, Christian Moro*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Disease education is a fundamental component in health science and medicine curricula, as it prepares students for their progression into health profession careers. However, this requires an ability to integrate concepts across multiple disciplines. Technology-enhanced interventions may bridge this gap, and this study assessed the effectiveness of a textbook-style or a three-dimensional mixed reality (MR, a hybrid of augmented and virtual reality) HoloLens resource for student learning and knowledge retention using asthma as a model of disease. Sixty-seven first-year undergraduate health science and medical students were randomized into two groups to complete a lesson on the physiology, anatomy, pathology, and pharmacology of asthma, delivered through either a textbook-style (n = 34) or MR (n = 33) resource. Participants took part in the study in small groups and completed the intervention and surveys in separate areas of a large laboratory space. A pre-test prior to the lesson included multiple-choice questions, with the post-test having additional multiple-choice questions to assess learning. A follow-up test to assess retention was performed two weeks later. Pre- and post-test scores revealed increased learning across both the textbook (p = 0.001) and MR (p = 0.05) interventions, although higher test results were obtained by those using the textbook-style resource (p < 0.05). There was no difference between groups in knowledge retention scores. Although the textbook-style resource was more effective for increasing test results, participants perceived MR as more favorable, highlighting the experience as enjoyable and useful. This study presents MR as an option for integration in cases where educators wish to enhance student enjoyment of the learning experience. However, the results suggest that traditional text-based resources persist as a fundamental delivery mode within a modern curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Science Educator
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Sep 2022

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