Exploring 360°-videos as Realistic Game-based Learning Environments for Work Placement Preparation
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Serious games in immersive virtual reality (VR) environments promise enhanced experiences and engagement, supporting training and learning. While realistically replicating the visuals of real environments can be both difficult and time-consuming, there are many potential advantages from doing so. In real work placements, students enter facilities with variations in types of equipment, rules for navigation, and workflows, adding cognitive load to a usually stressful situation. Allowing them to train and learn in more realistic environments corresponding to their future work placements, with high-fidelity representations, can be time-saving, support core task focus, and help students become more isolated from distractions. This paper presents the VR game 360Phlebotomy, which combines virtual tasks with 360° images and -videos of real laboratories in immersive VR. The game is aimed at helping students become familiar with real workplaces while also learning their work tasks. Current scenarios are tailored to biomedical laboratory science (BLS) education, with a focus on the phlebotomy process, which also serves as the main case in this paper. New environments can be added through a modular scene creation system, with the goal of allowing students to prepare for different work placements. Insights are provided by presenting the design and development process for a prototype tested by five BLS teachers and six BLS students. The results contribute to an increased understanding of the role of context in training and learning and provide a foundation for future work.