The use of virtual reality for public health education with reference to Syrian refugee camps
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In this study we used Virtual Reality (VR) technology to provide an immersive interactive learning experience for undergraduate public health students in the UK and Lebanon. Students carried out a problem-based learning exercise around public health challenges faced by Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In the wider context of a Virtual Student Exchange programme small, mixed nationality groups were connected by Skype, WhatsApp and other technologies to research specific healthcare requirements for refugee camps (e.g. sanitation) and constructed an interview guide for the Lebanese students to use on a visit to a camp at the end of the programme. Lebanese students captured 360-degree videos to allow UK peers to ‘join’ them on their camp visit using VR. Findings from post-hoc video interviews focusing on the use of VR indicated that students felt closer to the subject of their research than before it was used. Participants’ emotions were affected by what they saw in the camps, providing a broader cognitive experience in which sight, sound, and emotions were linked to the camps, deepening learning about the refugees’ conditions. Faculty were able to move beyond the use of simple text-based scenarios, facilitating students’ learning about a real-world situation that they would not have been able to access through other means. This approach has potential for wider use in education, providing virtual access to locations it can be difficult for learners to visit by other means.
Proceedings of the Virtual and Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Conference 2018;
Dawson, Henry, Alami, Nael, Bowen, Keith, & Maddah, Diana (2019) 'The use of virtual reality for public health education with reference to Syrian refugee camps',In Hudson, J. & Kerton, R. (ed.s) Proceedings of the Virtual and Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Conference 2018, pp. 73–81
Conference paper published in Proceedings of the Virtual and Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Conference 2018, available open access at https://doi.org/10.1255/vrar2018.ch8
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
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