Otago Polytechnic
NUR gen Manikin SimSuite 045

Immersive learning in nurse education

Dr Liz Ditzel, Raewyn Lesa and Dr Karole Hogarth

How can you teach a nursing student what it’s really like to live with a long-term disease such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)? This was one of the questions School of Nursing lecturers Dr Liz Ditzel, Raewyn Lesa and Dr Karole Hogarth were asking themselves. Reading about conditions in a textbook provides one form of knowledge, and practising on a mannequin provides another, but as Raewyn Lesa describes, “The problem with using simulation alone is that it is harder to give a holistic picture at one snapshot in time and therefore can dehumanise nursing care. Our goal was to bring the person back into care.”

The trio won an AKO research grant for a project which aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of using a technology-enhanced, integrated teaching approach to clinical practice, in order to improve the learner outcomes within nursing education.

Two case studies were chosen for students to learn from, one involving a person living with COPD, and the other centering on myocardial infarction. For those students who were part of the test group, each case involved a five-step learning approach which included theory lectures and online learning, LabTutor session, group tutorial, simulation, and debrief. The LabTutor component was delivered through software technology developed by AD Instruments.

The research showed that students that had received all five steps of the learning process reported improved levels of confidence. This clearly demonstrated that the immersive approach was effective for second year nursing students, and using visual teaching media such as patient case studies was the preferred teaching strategy.


2014 Ditzel, L., & Lesa R. Immersive Learning in Nursing Education. Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub Projects in Progress Colloquium 11 Christchurch