Healthcare higher education (HHE) continues to grow as it tries to meet the deficit of healthcare professionals in New Zealand (Ministry of Health, 2018). However, this puts pressure on lecturer to staff ratio, physical classroom sizes, tutorial equipment, and clinical experiences. In response, HHE lecturers need to consider alternative pedagogy to delivery engaging teaching, that shifts from teacher-directed to student-directed learning in extended [virtual] clinical environments due to the limited opportunity for clinical situated learning. The use of 360 virtual environments may help to bridge that gap.
Other blogs have outlined deployment and support of staff using 360 cameras and virtual environments including a proposal for equipment; Educational workshops; development of a “how-to cheat-sheet”; and instructional video for the online software (SeekBeak).
Reflection on Deployment
Being relatively novice to the use of the 360 cameras myself, I was somewhat nervous in being “called upon” to develop the proposal for the School and to lead teaching sessions to peers (something I find more nerve-wracking compared to teaching students). However, I received some good feedback from the School workshops, with some expressing enthusiasm for its use in their own teaching (see support below). As I became more confident in its use, I was able to initiate, then develop on the “cheat-sheet” and instructional videos. On reflection, having these resources available has reduced the common questions asked on “how to” set up; enabling concentrated face-to-face time on the scenario they are using the 360 environment for.
Reflection on Support
I always find it rewarding to see others develop something that was initially new to them. Even more rewarding when it is using resources personally developed. Staff, especially first time users, were supported in their development of scenarios and use of 360 environments with individualised meetings. I learnt that there was significant value in providing an initial 30 minute meeting to hear their intention for teaching was, to provide an overview of the resources, and then leave with the video and “cheat sheet”. It meant that the next meeting they would have developed an independent plan of how they would use the 360 environment, have a “play” with the equipment and software and have some “creative license”. One example included working with the Occupational Therapy team that focuses on management of an individual with an identified falls risk. I have also learnt that I have gained personal insight by working with different healthcare disciplines who have differing perspectives on the priority of care (i.e. the flow of the scenario). This has provided me a broader context to the clinical reasoning of my own approach to priorities- and to teaching students the consideration of other interprofessionals. I have also learnt to broadened my face-to-face contact when supporting staff- starting with “what is the end result you want to get the students to understand?”, and acknowledge when the use of 360 environment is not suited for that learning.
Another example of supporting others includes an impromptu invite to assist a Seekbeak workshop during the ASCILITE 2017 Conference. By doing so, I in turn developed experience working with others outside HHE; as well as confidence in “student”-directed blended learning as the workshop was directed by the participants’ needs.
I have learnt that by utilising a case scenario in a virtual environment, (HHE) students’ can independently investigate the scene to assess, prioritise then link to other resources. They are also prompted in their own time to peer-up and complete practical tasks, or to confirm learning with the lecturer. I have been encouraged by how the use of virtual environments has naturally led to student-directed, blended learning.