Immersive learning - test results of West Coast University students speak for themselves

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After two years of using AR learning through HoloLens and AnatomyX, the test results of West Coast University students speak for themselves

Quick read

➨ West Coast University partnered with Microsoft and Medivis in 2018 to bring HoloLens and AnatomyX, an AR platform for anatomy education, into its curriculum
➨ There has been between a one- or two-letter grade improvement from pre-test to post-test scores for participating students at West Coast University, while students in Los Angeles have earned a 10% improvement in test scores compared to last year when there was no AR
➨ By introducing AR into its curriculum, West Coast University aimed to enhance the student learning experience in new ways, with visual learners poised to benefit in particular

The story

A large-scale programme to introduce immersive education at West Coast University has resulted in improved test scores among participating students.

West Coast University partnered with Microsoft and medical visualisation company Medivis in 2018 to bring HoloLens and AnatomyX, an AR platform for anatomy education, into its curriculum.

Initial research from pilot institutions showed several positive results, including 15% higher student performance on standardised assessments.

Since then, there has been between a one- or two-letter grade improvement from pre-test to post-test scores for participating students, while students in Los Angeles have earned a 10% improvement in test scores compared to last year when there was no AR.

“The results so far speak for themselves,” said Segar Annamalai, chief information officer at West Coast University.

Features of AnatomyX include expertly modelled male and female bodies from real patient CT/MRI imaging, with more than 5,000 unique structures that are continuously updated for ever-growing detail. Users can access more than 100 voice commands for easy navigation.

By introducing AR into its curriculum, the university aimed to enhance the student learning experience in new ways, with visual learners poised to benefit in particular.

Shahram Bakhtiari, associate professor at West Coast University in Los Angeles, said: “We used to say that there are three types of learners: visual, auditory or kinesthetic. But as we start to implement technology into the classroom, we’ll start to see a rise of mutual learners.”

“For students that learn best when they are immersed in the subject and they feel themselves in the environment, AR is the gateway to that future.”

Justin Ridolfi, a student who has been using HoloLens and AnatomyX, said: “I’m always interested in learning about new technology so the fact that WCU implemented AR into nursing is so cool. It’s just an insane breakthrough that we are going to be able to use now, and keep using far into the future.”

Bakhtiari concluded: “West Coast University is always trying to be the pioneers of the field of education technology and that student-centricity will help our students so when they go into the field they are in very good shape, very good capacity and they’re up-to-date. And that’s beautiful.”

It’s positive to see such good results from immersive learning, and they will only help convince other schools and universities of its benefits.

Bakhtiari’s prediction, that “we’ll start to see a rise of mutual learners” as institutions implement technology into the classroom, has to be the ultimate goal for AR and VR as educational tools. Not to just improve learning outcomes, but to change the way students learn in the future.

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Main image: A student learning in AR