VR in education

VR Venepuncture

This highly interactive VR app provides a safe space in which users can develop key patient interaction skills and practise the process for obtaining blood samples.

Read about the app


How is VR different from virtual simulation?

‘Immersive simulation’ is used to describe multisensory experiences, and VR falls in this category.

Why educational touch-based VR should not be designed like a game

Gaming is the driving force behind VR and many interactions have their roots in gaming, but these gaming tropes simply don’t exist in the minds of most non-gamer students.

VR announcements from Oculus

As educators, here’s what caught our attention during the (2 hour) opening keynote of Oculus Connect 6 on 25 September 2019.

Why VR?

Work-based placements offer invaluable opportunities to develop the skills needed for professional practice. Access to placements and physical simulation facilities can be challenging, particularly in busy and fast-moving clinical environments.

For more than 50 years, The Open University has been pioneering the use of new technologies, at scale, for education. As a multidisciplinary team, we manage the entire development process from design and storyboarding to development and release. Using an evidence-led approach to design, we ensure that our work is robust in its theory, clinically accurate and has been tested and evaluated to meet the specific needs of users.

Image of a Oculus Rift virtual reality headset

Our journey

Since 2016, our project team has been exploring the application of immersive technologies in education.


VR Venepuncture

Currently in development. This highly interactive VR app provides a safe space in which users can develop key patient interaction skills and practise the process for obtaining blood samples.

Read more


VR suitability toolkit

Emerging from our findings on past virtual reality projects, the toolkit is a practical guide to help educators determine whether a VR experience would be suitable to meet a pedagogical need.

Explore the toolkit


Open Justice VR

Through audience questions from avatars, feedback and in-app recording, the experience supports reflection helping law students to develop the skills and confidence for effective presentations.

Virtual Oceans

The app provides a unique and innovative opportunity to experience a series of dives at key locations in the world’s oceans in a submersible. The dives are designed to provide students with 3D interactive visualisations of the complex ocean and how ocean processes vary across the planet.


Reducing the barrier to gesture control

The project team

Working closely with expert clinicians, the team combines expertise in pedagogy and technology to design and develop pedagogically effective VR simulations.

Photo of David Vince

Project lead

David Vince

David is interested in the effective use of learning technologies having completed a MA in Online and Distance Education at The Open University in 2015.

With 9 years’ experience of developing digital education products, he is responsible for the project’s strategic direction, delivery and managing relationships with stakeholders.

Photo of Nikki Brooks

Clinical designer

Nikki Brooks

Nikki Brooks is an Associate Dean (Academic) at De Montfort University, Leicester. She is a Registered Nurse who teaches across pre and post registration courses at DMU. She also works as a freelance clinical trainer delivering CPD to healthcare professionals. Nikki’s research interests are related to clinical skills, supporting student success and lifelong learning.

She is a published author who has written books on Venepuncture and Intravenous Therapy and also numerous articles relating to her research interests.

Photo of Lawrence Kizilkaya

VR learning designer

Lawrence Kizilkaya

Lawrence has a background in teaching and product design, with much of his current interest being focussed towards the conceptualisation of digital education products.

He is responsible for the design and integration of learning into our virtual reality projects, and works closely with all stakeholders to ensure the product benefits students.

Photo of Jamie Daniels

Technical lead

Jamie Daniels

Jamie is an experienced educational software developer with a passion for exploring the boundaries of new technologies to deliver and underpin impactful learning. He has been at the forefront of many of the landmark educational technologies in his 20-year career at the OU, including e-learning websites, mobile apps and most recently Virtual Reality.

A Unity certified developer, Jamie is an end-to-end technical lead who thrives on innovation whether it be initiating and developing his own concepts or working with others to develop and realise theirs.

Photo of Dean Collins

UX designer and 3D modeler

Dean Collins

Dean likes the use of creative thinking and design to solve problems. He aspires to create designs that empower, enrich and delight people. He believes in observing what people do, not what they say.

He is responsible for 3D modelling specific assets used to create our virtual environments. Dean is also responsible for ensuring a high quality user experience, and uses research and feedback from users to bring innovative yet functional solutions.

Photo of Kaye Williams

Quality assurance

Kaye Williams

Kaye draws on her 18 years in testing educational software to ensure our virtual simulations achieve quality standards. Her work has included a wide range of module websites and bespoke software applications over multiple operating systems, browsers and mobile devices.

She enjoys working on new technologies and takes a keen interest in usability and accessibility for all users.

Photo of Alice Peasgood

Research Consultant

Alice Peasgood

Alice is an educational technologist and researcher who is fascinated by the complex and subtle ways in which digital technologies alter the learning experience. Building upon a 25-year career as an academic in STEM subjects and widening participation to higher education, she is responsible for designing the evaluation, data collection and analysis for the project.

Contact us

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