Virtual, augmented, immersive reality and metaverse in the medical students training: a systematic review
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Universitas Mercatorum, Faculty of economics, Piazza Mattei 10, 00186 Rome, Italy
Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Department of Public health and Infectious Diseases, Italy
University of Padua, Department of Information Engineering, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A693
Background and Objective:
In the last decades, several educational strategies have been identified to improve the skills of students and promote deep learning. The use of virtual reality (VR), immersive (IR) or augmented reality (AR) and metaverse (MV) technologies can be engaging and interactive learning resources and easily updated in line with the learning needs. While digital education is increasingly used in teaching, it is not very clear how effective. To address this gap a systematic review has been conducted to investigate the academic performance, satisfaction, and acceptability of this digital education in university students of medicine.

The review was conducted according to the guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. The following databases were searched from their earliest records until October 30th, 2022: PubMed, Scopus (Elsevier), and Web of Science. The following search string was applied: (metaverse OR “immersive reality” OR “virtual reality” OR “augmented reality”) AND (“Medical Students” OR “Medical Training” OR Triability OR Teaching) AND University AND (satisfaction OR Acceptance OR Performace). Only studies focused on undergraduate students of medicine/dentistry/degree courses in the health professions were considered. Only experimental studies were included.

Actually, the systematic review is in progress. The preliminary results of the search through the scientific literature identified 372 citations. 32 studies were selected: 4 full texts are not available, 17 RCT, 10 quasi-experimental trials, and 1 quasi-randomized trial. Considering only the studies that measured academic performance (N=26), 13 of them indicated significantly superior performance with the equipment for the VR or analog technologies trained students.

VR simulation was at least as effective as traditional learning methods in training medical students while providing benefits regarding user satisfaction. VR is useful for learning both simple and complex clinical skills, according to these findings.