PregnancyVue – Take your learners beyond the textbook with PregnancyVue by CACHE
PregnancyVue is a free virtual reality (VR) immersive learning experience which allows users to experience the stages of pregnancy from inside and outside the womb. It was co-created with learners, tutors and subject specialists, in order to offer schools and colleges an opportunity to reimagine how they can engage with learners and improve knowledge retention.
The app is available on Oculus Go headset as well as a 2D version on phones running Android and iOS.
The app’s interface was designed to be as clear and simple as possible. Through tutorials, users can easily familiarise themselves with the app and access a glossary to support their learning and take the built in quiz to test their knowledge.
Why did NCFE CACHE create PregnancyVue?
The T-Level bid outlined by the Government following the Sainsbury’s Review presented an opportunity for us to reimagine how learners and tutors experience our qualifications. We noticed a gap for VR in our childcare, health and social care qualifications, where learners often struggle. PregnancyVue is an exciting outcome of this and allows tutors to provide a new and engaging way of delivering a unit.
With interest in VR increasing, we wanted to co-create an app with tutors, learners and industry experts that could help change the way the sector approaches new and emerging technology.
As PregnancyVue marks our first application within a future portfolio of VR resources we had wider objectives to consider:
- Explore how VR can realistically work within the classroom for an enhanced teaching and learning experience.
- Identify the possibilities and limitations of assessment within VR.
- Implement an app that better support learners retain and apply knowledge.
However, our product demonstrations and user feedback highlighted that VR has yet to catch up with popular expectations - this helped us identify three key points for our commercial VR app development:
- Focus on completing one core execution to the highest standard possible which can then be built out once tried and tested.
- Opt for a broad subject area which allows for more users to benefit from the application of VR rather than something too niche.
- Investigate an XR (extended reality) approach so that the app can be used across different devices (i.e. mobile) and not limited to a VR headset for better accessibility.
Whilst our product and competitor research showed there were several educational biology applications, there were currently no products on the market which reflected our aspirations for the functionality of PregnancyVue. Although an existing pregnancy VR app was identified, this was cinematographic in style and content with little educational format. Furthermore, we struggled to find any VR applications that offered an assessment or quiz mode to help test user knowledge retention.
How has PregnancyVue been developed?
From ideation to conception and delivery, we worked with key stakeholders, customers and learner groups to ensure that the app development was focused, fulfilled the needs of our sector and adhered to the Government’s criteria outlined in the T-Level bid. This included innovation workshops, user trials, development of lesson plans and college implementation sessions. After each session all feedback was collated and directly fed into the next stage of product development.
We also built in an optional tutorial so users were not dependent on a tutor or peer to understand how to use the technology. The revision buster and glossary were created concurrently during the trials and checked against the curriculum to make sure the app fulfilled the learning objectives.
How is PregnancyVue being used?
By developing PregnancyVue, CACHE NCFE have explored how VR can realistically work within the classroom for an enhanced teaching and learning experience. So far PregnancyVue has been used in a number of different ways:
- By Darlington College as part of their lessons - CACHE has produced a lesson plan and tested with current CACHE learners - this is available to download for free from the PregnancyVue website.
- Taking PregnancyVue ‘on the road’ to university open days, CACHE Conferences, workshops and demos in colleges to gather feedback; as well as to promote CACHE qualifications and college’s wider offering.
- To engage SEND learners with new material through PregnancyVue.
- As part of colleges open days to showcase what learners will study about in their qualification.
Ashleigh, CACHE Tutor at Darlington College has commented “They all wanted to do the quiz at the end. I don’t think I’ve ever had it where students really want to do a quiz.”
A CACHE Level 3 Childcare learner at Accrington and Rossendale College stated that “Had a really good experience with PregnancyVue. Learnt lots of information about the course; very friendly.”
A lecturer at Huddersfield New College: “What a great resource to allow students to engage and explore conception to birth, absolutely love it! Can’t wait to use it with our students.”
How has PregnacyVue been received?
So far there have been over 2100 downloads and interestingly showed that all three app stores (Google, Apple, Oculus) had roughly equal share. Furthermore, Oculus downloads were well received in the US (47%) compared to the UK (12%) and a spread of results from different countries.
We were delighted that PregnancyVue won the ideasUK award in the Technology and Digital category in November 2019 at the 33rd annual conference. ideasUK is a not-for-profit network organisation which supports its members across the world to harness the power of ideas to help promote positive impact within their own businesses. PregnancyVue was up against some fierce competition from a cross-section of industry sectors which makes CACHE NCFE very proud of this success.
Commenting on the app’s and VR’s potential, Dawn Baker, Executive Director of Innovation said: ‘We’re always exploring how we can offer learners and tutors the best possible experience of our qualifications. PregnancyVue brings our Childcare qualifications to life in a completely new way. Learners who have tried the app are not only excited by it, but they also understand and respond to the topic like never before. I truly believe this app has the potential to change how human biology is taught across the sector.’
CACHE NCFE are now collaborating with customers and subject specialists to look at how virtual reality can further support their Childcare qualifications. They are using the feedback that came from the back of testing PregnancyVue to design the next VR apps.
For more information about PregnancyVue, how to download the app and our free lesson plan or to give feedback, please go to: https://www.cache.org.uk/pregnancyvue
To sign-up to hear about the next CACHE NCFE VR apps, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
NCFE CACHE for PregnancyVue by CACHE was a finalist in the Innovation category of the 2019 e-Assessment Awards.