Education & Workforce

Groundbreaking Training Methodology Meets Immersive Technology


COVID-19 training from Shift builds on a strong foundation of research focused on virtual reality training. It takes the novel step of using virtual reality to empower healthcare and other frontline workers to significantly change how they receive critical up-to-date training and manage their workloads.


Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, healthcare workers, the staff at grocery stores, and the hospitality industry have become frontline heroes. They are under intense pressure – with a lack of protective equipment and personnel – to deal with the surge of patients in many areas. In addition to these issues, effective asynchronous training for the donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE) is not available. While there are numerous videos with up-to-date content, a recent study showed that in a side-by-side comparison, those trained in VR had improved overall performance compared to those trained using traditional videos. The donning and doffing of PPE and accurate hand washing are vital skills during a pandemic.

“The demands on healthcare personnel (HCP) are extraordinary, but the importance of attention to personal protection cannot be underestimated. By way of example, a cluster of 17 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) cases among Canadian HCP in 2003 was studied. Among their findings – 13 of those who fell ill (87 percent) were unsure of the proper order in which personal protective equipment (PPE) should be donned and removed.” Allcoat & VonMuhlenen

PPE can’t protect you if you don’t know how to use it properly.


Virtual reality training provides a safer, more effective, and more engaging way to train people who are putting themselves at risk. Virtual reality technology is uniquely suited to preparing healthcare and other workers to operate in environments with a potential risk of COVID-19 exposure or transmission without exposing them to real-world consequences. In a normal setting, these training elements require healthcare trainers and supplies, both of which are now in limited in availability. Through VR, people can learn and practice in a realistic environment, with full movement, before stepping into a healthcare or post-acute care or childcare facility.

Shift’s immersive training projects rapidly teach COVID-19 skills, including proper donning and doffing of PPE, hand hygiene, patient interaction protocols, and COVID-19 symptom identification. Shift developed the infrastructure to meet the rapid deployment of its first training module, the safe selection and use of PPE. In May 2020, Shift completed beta-testing of current training modules at three locations in Oregon to get feedback and operationalize further deployment. Shift will expand to new training site locations in New York, NY, and Eugene, OR in late 2020. Each training site will have a predetermined number of Oculus Quest virtual reality headsets, and the staff will be trained on how to sanitize the equipment between uses properly. Additional training modules and enhancements will be deployed to all VR headsets as they become available.

For more information, contact the team at Shift.

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