The current economic context, characterised by globalisation, competitiveness and the progress of information and communication using new technologies, suggests that one of the critical elements for the development of organisations is knowledge and its management (1, 2). This management is even more relevant for health services and health professionals due to the continuous development of knowledge in the health sciences. In this context, the incorporation of new training methodologies in companies becomes an interesting area of study (3, 4).
Numerous studies indicate that VR technology is a powerful tool for teaching, mainly because of its ability to provide immersive, multi-sensory and realistic teaching environments, among other features (5–7). To achieve this immersion, we need to make use of technology and devices such as virtual reality headsets or glasses and physical elements with which to interact with the virtual environment (6, 8). Using these elements, we can transport ourselves to a world generated with the use of technologies.
The use of VR technology in the field of training is based on the theory that knowledge is retained much better when it is experienced directly than when it is simply observed or heard. The basis of this theory is the concept of first-person knowledge (5) according to which an individual acquires most knowledge during his or her lifetime through natural, direct, subjective and non-reflective experiences. Experiences of this type are usually characterised by the absence of deliberate reflection because the action arises directly from our perception of the world. Moreover, this learning happens implicitly, because we are not aware that we are learning something. In summary, VR allows the creation of first-person experiences, originally accessible through direct experience with the real world (9) and represents a very large qualitative leap in the learning of areas in which knowledge is difficult to visualise if it is not carried out in a simulation environment.
The use of virtual reality in the field of education is gaining prominence (10) because it is an effective modality for training and assessment (11), which generates advantages for students (12), including understanding of the content presented (13) improved creativity, higher academic performance (6, 14), and increased student engagement in classrooms and ease of sustaining attention (15).
However, there are studies that have not observed a significant change in acquired knowledge between training with VR versus traditional training (15).
The application of VR in training is currently occurring mainly in the healthcare field (16, 17). In this aspect, its usefulness is emphasised when making diagnostic or therapeutic decisions in health interventions, in the broadest sense of the term (18). One of the fields of application of VR in the world of education is the use in the training of assistance techniques such as Basic Life Support (BLS) (19). The Catalan Resuscitation Council (CCR) establishes that BLS training should be carried out with a 5-hour programme. Every two years, professionals who have completed the initial certification course must undergo a recertification process. This information is available on the CCR website, which is part of the European Resuscitation Council (https://ccr.cat/).
The BLS training programme for Catalan Health Institute (ICS) professionals in Central Catalonia is endorsed by the CCR and consists of a five-hour certified training programme and a short recertification programme. The main objectives of this training are the knowledge of the action algorithm of a professional of the Catalan Health Institute in a cardiopulmonary arrest and training in resuscitation, evaluating as indicators of achievement a correct depth and rhythm of cardiac compressions performed by the student.
Within this framework, Central Catalonia has initiated a training project for BLS certification using virtual reality equipment consisting of a high-performance personal computer, a professional simulation torso with sensors, HTC Vive Cosmos virtual reality glasses, a carrying case and all the necessary software to perform the different virtual scenarios.
The Catalan Health Institute (ICS) in Central Catalonia has a total of 33 Primary Care Teams (PCT) with a high rate of dispersion among the regions of Bages, Moianès, Berguedà, Osona and Anoia. This dispersion means that classroom training requires the students and/or teachers to travel.
The main aim of the project is to evaluate the learning curve of the students using a training environment with role-playing methodology and a VR environment, evaluating the consolidated learning contents after each training activity. The evaluation will be carried out through the questionnaire validated by the CCR and by the ERC, which will be given to the students immediately before the beginning of the classroom part of the training activity, immediately after six months of the course. The secondary aims are to evaluate the satisfaction of trainees who undergo training using VR versus a traditional methodology and to analyse the cost of training using VR and compare the cost using a conventional methodology.