Augmented Reality in Medical Education: A Mixed Methods Feasibility Study

Oliver George, Jeremy Foster, Zhongyang Xia, Christopher Jacobs

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Background: Augmented reality (AR) is a novel technology with many applications in medical education. Perhaps one of the most beneficial potential applications is to enable better clinical access for students; however, there is limited research into this use. The purpose of this mixed-methods feasibility study was to evaluate the applicability and acceptability of AR in undergraduate and early postgraduate medical education.

Methods: Single-group quasi-experimental study design was developed for critical care-themed simulation teaching delivered using Microsoft HoloLens (Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington, United States). Post-test questionnaires were completed including a validated adapted immersive experience questionnaire (AIEQ) and an abridged intrinsic motivation inventory (AIMI). The AIMI focused on the domains of ‘interest and enjoyment’, and ‘value and usefulness’. Following the teaching, focus group interviews with thematic analysis were conducted to evaluate participants’ experiences with AR.

Results: All 15 participants (100%) completed the AIEQ and AIMI. Co-located airway teaching (i.e., the demonstrator and participants were placed in the same AR environment) was reported as having a moderate level of user immersion (median 72) and a high level of user enjoyment and value (median 52). Thematic analysis revealed four key themes: visual conceptualization for learning, accessibility, varied immersion, and future application.

Conclusions: Remote simulation for the management of airways in critical care was found to be acceptable and afforded a high level of enjoyment and value. Similarly, this was reflected in the thematic analysis. However, immersion was rated variably in both AIEQ and thematic analysis. The challenges identified with the application of AR included technical infrastructure and patient consent. AR-enabled education benefits are relevant to a number of clinical teaching areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere36927
Issue number3
Early online date30 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2023


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