McCaw K, West A, Duncan C, Frey D, Duerr F. Exploration of Immersive Virtual Reality in Teaching Veterinary Orthopedics. . J Vet Med Educ. 2022 Dec;49(6):716-720

PMID: 34102095


The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed the use of novel teaching modalities to enhance the provision of remote veterinary education. In this study, we describe the use of immersive virtual reality (iVR) as a teaching aid for veterinary medicine students during their orthopedics clinical rotation. Student sentiments were assessed using voluntary electronic surveys taken by veterinary students before and after the rotation. The most noteworthy benefits students reported were improved engagement with the course content, information retention, radiographic interpretation, and clinical reasoning skills. Obstacles encountered during the initial stages of the program included financial and temporal investment in equipment and content development, technical troubleshooting, and motion sickness. Though it is unlikely that iVR will ever fully replace hands-on learning experiences, it presents an educational opportunity to supplement traditional learning methods, motivate students, and fill information gaps. As iVR technology continues to evolve and improve, potential applications in the veterinary curriculum grow, making the modality's use progressively more advantageous. Although this study describes its application in an orthopedic setting, the versatility of the iVR modality lends the potential for it to be implemented in a number of clinical and didactic settings.