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

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


Zain Hussain

Dominic Mark Ng

Nouf Alnafisee

Zakariya Sheikh

Nathan Ng

Ateeb Khan

Debbie Aitken

Aziz Sheikh


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.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 7, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 16, 2021
Publication Date 2021-08
Deposit Date Feb 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 1, 2022
Journal BMJ Open
Electronic ISSN 2044-6055
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 8
Article Number e047004
Public URL


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