One use of educational simulation is to aid in transforming students from novice to expert. However, currently used simulation modalities are often prohibitively expensive. From early constructivist theory to the concepts of active learning and student mastery, scholars have demonstrated the importance of practice to increase student performance and understanding (Bandura & Walters, 1977; Bloom, 1968; Dewey, 1938; Freeman et al., 2014). The significance of aligning educational practice with scenarios students will face in authentic, real-world situations is further exemplified in the Benner et al. novice to expert theory (2010) and Ericsson's concept of deliberate practice (1993). Traditional simulation modalities, such as nursing manikins and flight simulators, are costly and therefore limited only to well-funded institutions. New immersive technology – including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) – provide significantly more affordable and accessible methods of simulation.
Nursing education relies particularly heavily on simulation to substitute clinical experience. This is due, in part, to an increasing shortage of clinical placement availability. Traditional nursing simulation modalities have been proven effective across levels of nursing education for transforming novice to expert through student engagement in authentic active and realistic practice. These modalities are expensive and often cost-prohibitive, making them often inaccessible for students attending institutions that lack adequate funding. Innovation in the field of immersive technology provides a new modality for high quality simulation through hardware that is more affordable than traditional nursing simulation devices. Early studies indicate immersive technology is an effective modality to deliver educational simulation in a manner that elicits student motivation to learn, however the effectiveness of this immersive technology simulation to provide a motivating learning experience has not been thoroughly investigated. Thus, the virtual standardized patient (VSP) nursing simulation was developed through volumetric video capture to simulate severe, rare clinical events for nursing students to gain knowledge, practice skills, and build confidence through simulated patient symptoms and events.