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Use of a Virtual Environment to Facilitate Instruction of an Interprofessional Home Assessment

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Technology has become a ubiquitous part of our society and is largely embedded in today's educational system. 3D virtual reality technology can be used to simulate environments and activities and may be used as an instructional technology. The purpose of this research was to better understand the utility of a web-based virtual environment as a teaching tool to represent clinical assessment and interventions in the home environment. Specifically, students' learning outcomes related to interprofessional collaboration, patient-centered decision-making, and appreciation of the environmental and social context of functional mobility and occupational performance will be described through descriptive analysis. Thirty-four physical therapist students and 35 occupational therapist students participated in an instructor-guided virtual assessment of a client's function in a home environment utilizing a virtual environment, Second Life®. Teams formulated task-specific, functional client goals and home modification recommendations. Students revisited a solution virtual environment to view and evaluate recommendations in a follow-up instructor-guided tour. Students completed a web-based survey capturing student perception of the experience. Team assignments were analyzed based on a rubric representing learning objectives. Descriptive analysis was conducted on the survey. Assignment analysis revealed contextual and client-centered recommendations. Student surveys revealed that students found the virtual environment supportive of learning. Student surveys and reflection statements were supportive of the interprofessional collaboration. Use of a virtual environment in instruction allows an authentic means of representing interprofessional home assessment. The virtual environment allowed a temporal depiction of home environment issues and solutions providing the unique opportunity for students to evaluate home recommendations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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