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Laboratory and Data Science Education

Virtual, mixed, and augmented reality have been shown to reduce the time required to acquire skills proficiency and can be used in resource-limited or medically underserved environments where face-to-face training is not available However, little has been done regarding such technology for allied health care laboratory programs. Furthermore, new technology like the Oculus Quest system (Oculus VR, Menlo Park, CA) and others has substantially reduced the cost of virtual reality stations and allowed for untethered self-tracking experiences without the need for complex hardware and have hand-held controls that allow individuals to manipulate items in space. Combining software/hardware assets and programming developed to teach clinical lab skills and supplement currently available resources would significantly enhance clinical laboratory training worldwide and fill the gap for much needed tools to replace some aspects of on-site training. Because student lab training is often performed using older instrumentation that may be substantially different from the type of high-throughput instrumentation currently used in hospitals and clinics, the use of VR/AR/XR would allow the students to experience instrumentation in a format similar to that they may see in their hospital preceptorships in a safe and worry-free environment. 

 

The value of developing a wide array of VR/AR/XR laboratory assets and applications include using the materials: 

  1. As recruitment tools to educate and entice students to pursue laboratory science professions,
  2. To increase student enrollment in laboratory sciences by offering truly unique learning experiences that have not historically been available in few if any of these programs.
  3. Improving the student laboratory experience
  4. Engaging in academic research programs to improve student learning outcomes

Last Published: Mar 15, 2021