Northumbria University introduces interactive platform for health and care students

A proposal from Northumbria University seeking to establish a “pioneering immersive wellbeing environment for students” with the aim of reducing attrition rates amongst undergraduate students in the fields of health and care has received a grant of £40,000 from NHS England.

Containing auditory experiences, videos and images with “advanced features” combining AI with a human-centred design focus, the ‘Wellbeing in Student Education’ or WISE Room provides a multi-technology platform where students can used their laptops, mobile phones or head-mounted devices to learn interactively about “everything from nutrition to specific medicines or general wellbeing”.

Dr Tor Alexander Bruce, interdisciplinary researcher specialising in health and life sciences, human computer interaction and human-centred design, is leading the project. He commented: “The set up of these types of digital environments permits a level of autonomy for users in that they can access The WISE Room as a tool, for course preparation, self-direction, education and also for wellbeing. In this sense it’s a multi-sensory, multipurpose, multi-technology environment”.

The WISE Room is currently being developed to support other areas of the university, and it is hoped that the concept could be rolled-out in other universities and workplaces UK-wide.

In June, we reported on the publication of the NHS’s Long Term Workforce Plan, which aimed to support staff retention, increase education and training, and capitalise on technology to support reforms. The plan highlighted the need for “improving culture and retention, training the workforce differently” and making “continued, sustained investment in digital technologies and ongoing work to understand the impact of these technologies on staff and workforce planning, transformation and skills development”.

Our deep dive on the implications of the metaverse for future healthcare, treatment and medical education, explored the ways that AI could promote accessibility and inclusion, personalised learning, easier skills transfer and education without cultural barriers.

In May, we looked at NHS England’s review on the current status of digital tech and skills in health and care education, which included recommendations on embedding a digital culture and improving digital infrastructure and specialist resources.