Immersive learning in nursing education: Results of a study

Liz Mary Ditzel, Karole Hogarth, Raewyn Lesa


Objective: This study evaluated the effectiveness of an immersive teaching and learning approach for undergraduate nurses. Traditional classroom tutorials were combined with self-directed learning using LabTutor™, an online learning platform, and clinical nursing simulation using high fidelity manikins. Learning modules were designed to link the student’s knowledge and understanding of biosceince with clinical assessment and nursing management in order to develop clinical decision-making skills. It was anticipated that students’ learning experience would be enhanced by the higher level of realism that is possible using the sophisticated manikins and authentic patient clinical data and case notes provided in LabTutor™.

Methods: The study took place in a New Zealand School of Nursing in 2014. Qualitative data was gathered using focus groups and an external facilitator. Quantitative data was gathered using an online survey.

Results: Participants were second year undergraduate nursing students (N = 111): 71 (64%) interviewees, and 82 (73%) survey respondents. Qualitative data showed that the immersive learning process was effective. Quantitative data affirmed that immersive learning was liked, confidence improved, students enjoyed the process, and would recommend it to others. Using simulation and patient case studies were preferred teaching strategies. Performing experiments, and using digital LabTutor™ technology challenged many, but skills improved over the year.

Conclusions: The immersive learning approach was effective. However, despite the high level of authenticity made possible by using high fidelity manikins, realism was hard to establish. An unexpected learning outcome occurred when intermittent technology malfunction prompted students to use problem-solving skills.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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