Impact of Virtual and Augmented Reality on Quality of Medical Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review

Omar Sadek, Fiona Baldwin, Rebecca Gray, Nadine Khayyat, Theofanis Fotis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent mandatory social distancing led to widespread disruption of medical education. This contributed to the accelerated introduction of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology in medical education.

The objective of this quantitative narrative synthesis review is to summarize the recent quantitative evidence on the impact of VR and AR on medical education.

A literature search for articles published between March 11, 2020 and January 31, 2022 was conducted using the following electronic databases: Embase, PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, AMED, EMCARE, BNI, and HMIC. Data on trainee confidence, skill transfer, information retention, and overall experience were extracted.

The literature search generated 448 results, of which 13 met the eligibility criteria. The studies reported positive outcomes in trainee confidence and self-reported knowledge enhancement. Additionally, studies identified significant improvement in the time required to complete surgical procedures in those trained on VR (mean procedure time 97.62±35.59) compared to traditional methods (mean procedure time 121.34±12.17). However, participants also reported technical and physical challenges with the equipment (26%, 23 of 87).

Based on the studies reviewed, immersive technologies offer the greatest benefit in surgical skills teaching and as a replacement for lecture- and online-based learning. The review identified gaps that could be areas for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328–338
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Graduate Medical Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


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