Immersive Training for Retention

How Virtual Reality training can help healthcare professionals retain crucial information.

Healthcare professionals are tasked with learning and retaining an enormous amount of knowledge and skills. Whether the task is to master human anatomy and physiology, the symptoms associated with a broad range of diseases and disorders, or the skills associated with performing some routine or non-routine medical procedure, healthcare professional undergo an enormous amount of training to ensure excellence when treating patients. In addition, healthcare professionals are expected to apply this knowledge and these skills under a broad range of challenging situations including time pressure, social stress, and other sub-optimal conditions.

Unfortunately, and as all healthcare professionals know first-hand, the brain is hardwired to forget. This has been known implicitly for centuries, but was formalized scientifically in 1885 when Hermann Ebbinghaus embarked on a journey to characterize and quantify the time-course of learning and memory, and in the process discovered the “forgetting curve”.

A typical forgetting curve is displayed below. The y-axis denotes the retention rate that ranges from 0 to 100%, and the x-axis denotes time. The blue dot in the upper left represents the initial level of learning. In this example, we assume that the learner obtained 100% of the knowledge initially. The red curve is the forgetting curve. Notice that the rate of forgetting is rapid initially and then tapers off over time. The retention rates of 60% after 20 minutes, 40% after one day, and 15% after a week are hypothetical but are in line with many scientific studies. Although the retention rates depend upon the nature of initial training and the type of information studied, the shape remains the same.

0_sZUMkp_6LsUYX5mEWhat this means is that you can train to perfection today, but you will immediately start to forget and ultimately will retain only a small portion of the information. This is a serious problem in any training setting, but is especially problematic in healthcare. The last thing that you want is for your healthcare professional to forget some critical piece of knowledge.

The neuroscience of information and skills retention and the problem of forgetting are fascinating. In this report, we discuss these issues and show how traditional approaches to training that rely predominantly on text, and some simulation or hands-on training exacerbate the problem. We then discuss the neuroscience of learning with immersive technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), and show why their grounding in experience is advantageous for guarding against forgetting. We show that the ability for endless study and practice enhances “Training for Retention”, and builds situational awareness in healthcare.

By Alice Bonasio | Medium

Image Credit: Alice Bonasio / Medium


About Peter Coffaro 506 Articles
Peter Coffaro is a growth-driven and strategic executive with over 25 years of progressive management success in the medical device industry. With a proven track record and recognized expertise, Peter has established himself as one of the top influencers in medical sales, as acknowledged by prestigious publications such as the World Journal of Orthopedics, Exponential Healthtech, and Throughout his career, Peter has accumulated 10 years of combined sales management experience, excelling in various roles including Director, General Manager, Distributor, and Vice President. He has worked for industry-leading orthopedic companies such as Zimmer, DePuy, and Stryker, solidifying his deep knowledge and network within the field. Peter’s passion for innovation and emerging technologies led him to found OrthoFeed, an award-winning blog covering digital orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Through this platform, he stays at the forefront of the industry and contributes to the dissemination of valuable insights. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson, demonstrating his exceptional contributions and impact on the organization. His expertise extends to areas such as organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing, and professional education. Peter earned a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry from Northern Illinois University, further complementing his comprehensive understanding of the medical field. With his wealth of experience, strategic mindset, and dedication to advancing healthcare, Peter Coffaro is a valuable asset and leader in the medical device industry.

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