Effectiveness of virtual and augmented reality for improving knowledge and skills in medical students: protocol for a systematic review

Zain Hussain, Dominic Mark Ng, Nouf Alnafisee, Zakariya Sheikh, Nathan Ng, Ateeb Khan, Amir Hussain, Debbie Aitken, Aziz Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are increasingly being used in undergraduate medical education. We aim to evaluate the effectiveness of VR and AR technologies for improving knowledge and skills in medical students.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Using Best Evidence in Medical Education (BEME) collaboration guidelines, we will search MEDLINE (via PubMed), Education Resources Information Center, PsycINFO, Web of Knowledge, Embase and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for English-language records, from January 1990 to March 2021. Randomised trials that studied the use of VR or AR devices for teaching medical students will be included. Studies that assessed other healthcare professionals, or did not have a comparator group, will be excluded. The primary outcome measures relate to medical students' knowledge and clinical skills. Two reviewers will independently screen studies and assess eligibility based on our prespecified eligibility criteria, and then extract data from each eligible study using a modified BEME coding form. Any disagreements will be resolved by discussion or, if necessary, the involvement of a third reviewer. The BEME Quality Indicators checklist and the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool will be used to assess the quality of the body of evidence. Where data are of sufficient homogeneity, a meta-analysis using a random-effects model will be conducted. Otherwise, a narrative synthesis approach will be taken and studies will be evaluated based on Kirkpatrick's levels of educational outcomes and the Synthesis Without Meta-analysis guidelines.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval is not required for this systematic review as no primary data are being collected. We will disseminate the findings of this review through scientific conferences and through publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e047004
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2021


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