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Currently submitted to: JMIR Nursing

Date Submitted: May 14, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: May 14, 2020 - Jul 9, 2020
(currently open for review)

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Learning with Virtual Reality in Nursing Education - A Qualitative Research Study Using the UTAUT Model

  • Ann-Kathrin Lange; 
  • Jana Koch; 
  • Anastasia Beck; 
  • Till Neugebauer; 
  • Frauke Watzema; 
  • Christoph Dockweiler; 
  • Kamil J. Wrona; 



Digital Games-Based Learning (DGBL) is a method of using digital games to impart knowledge. Virtual reality (VR) programs are a practical application of this method. Due to demographic changes, the nursing profession will become increasingly important. These VR applications can be of use in training nurses for future professional challenges they may encounter. The continuous development of VR applications enables trainees to simulate real-life effectively and to experience increasingly concrete situations. This can be of great importance in nursing education, since three-dimensionality (3D) enables a better visualization of many fields of activity and in order to prevent potential future errors. In addition to this learning effect, VR applications also bring an element of ‚fun‘ to learning.


The aim of this qualitative research effort is to observe the degree of acceptance of VR applications by nursing students and to investigate, which factors could influence the behavioral tendency to use VR applications. Various factors including social influences, performance expectations or effort expectations are taken into consideration.


With the help of a qualitative cohort study, the acceptance of nursing students towards VR applications in anatomy teaching was determined. The 12 participants were first asked to fill out a quantitative questionnaire on their socio-demographic characteristics and the extent to which they valued and liked using technology. The participants were then allowed to test the VR application themselves and were finally asked about their experience in a qualitative interview. For the collection of data and the analysis of results, the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT 2) was used in this study.


All in all, the study shows that the interviewed persons rate the VR application quite positively. The greatest influence here is the personal attitude towards technology, the higher this affinity is the more useful the VR application appears. Social influences can also increase the own acceptance - if peers have a positive attitude towards such applications. The study shows that the trainees' own motivation to learn can be increased by using VR. We believe this is because each trainee can learn individually, and the VR application is perceived as an enjoyable activity. Nevertheless, the cost factor of implementing VR applications in nursing training is currently still an obstacle, as not every institution has such financial capacities.


The extent to which the use of VR applications in the training of nursing staff is justified depends on the degree of personal acceptance. The collected results give a good practice-oriented insight into the attitude of trainees towards VR. The response has been very positive and many of the interviewed persons see benefits in the use of VR technologies. However, in order to include this in the training, it is necessary to implement these applications in the curriculum. As VR applications are constantly developing, it is necessary to conduct further studies on VR applications in nursing education and to include other possible disciplines, in which these applications can be helpful.


Please cite as:

Lange A, Koch J, Beck A, Neugebauer T, Watzema F, Dockweiler C, Wrona KJ

Learning with Virtual Reality in Nursing Education - A Qualitative Research Study Using the UTAUT Model

JMIR Preprints. 14/05/2020:20249

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.20249


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