Know Before You Go (KBYG):
Supporting Remote Nursing Students in Experiential Learning  


Using a 360-degree video interface to reduce anxiety in online nursing students before embarking on their on-site practical learning.

September 2020

Challenge Sponsor:

Swinburne Online



In 2020, Swinburne Data for Social Good Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC) partnered with Swinburne Online to explore building a safe space where students could apply their knowledge, gain confidence and build their skills, before trying to use them in real world scenarios.

The brains trust for this Challenge included Vocational Learning Advisors, Learning Designers, Program Managers, students and researchers with expertise in transformative media technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality.

We decided to explore the customer perspective of an online nursing student who will be starting their practical hours and may experience anxiety before starting the practical aspects of their education. Our challenge team designed a concept prototype they named ‘Know Before You Go’ (KBYG).



There is a steep learning curve which frustrates the journey of many nursing students. One of the most significant hurdles in this journey is the rift between theoretical education and practical application of their learning.

This has been a cause for anxiety in many prospective nurses who attend classes solely online. The COVID-19 lockdowns have only served to exacerbate these issues as it creates external pressures, which did not previously exist.

Many nursing students report significant levels of anxiety going into the practical component of their education, making it necessary to develop a solution to this issue which would serve to soften the learning curve.


Innovation workshop

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, workshops were held remotely. During the workshops, we applied the ‘Working Backwards’ methodology, Amazon’s innovation framework, to understand the nursing students’ motivations and pain points in progressing through their studies.

Participants were encouraged to empathise with the position of a student nurse, working from home with many potential external responsibilities, such as employment and carer’s responsibilities (which increased due to COVID-19).

This resulted in the idea of the augmented reality environment which was seen as a means to give a visual understanding of the practical training environment. Legislative requirements mean that the minimum requirements of on-site practical hours cannot be replaced by virtual experiences.

However, a web-based training tool concept was developed to reduce the stress and anxiety student nurses may be experiencing, with the potential to improve the effectiveness and translation of the theoretical learning content. 


Solutions workshop

We progressed from our initial concept of a virtual learning environment from the ‘Working Backwards’ workshop to the solutions workshop. A dedicated solutions architect in the CIC team worked with key Swinburne Online stakeholders to develop the initial functional specifications for the prototype learning platform.

A concept solution was then created which identified how nursing students were to interact with KBYG. With support from the brains trust, we explored a range of technologies such as fully rendering a lab experience, 3D video accessible via a lo-fi mobile phone solution (e.g. Google cardboard or similar) and a 360-degree, browser-based video interface.


Value proposition

According to a recent validation study by UCLA, surgical students who use VR to train perform significantly better than those that don’t (+230% scores).

The KBYG system gives Swinburne Online nursing students an edge. KBYG is a learning tool that provides nursing students with a preliminary understanding of their working environment by displaying a 360-degree view of the Swinburne Simulation Lab, which will allow students to familiarise themselves with the in-person training experience prior to visiting the Lab in person.

Students can access KBYG via a simple web interface, the same as they would access learning resources for their studies on a day-to-day basis. 


Concept prototype

KBYG is designed to help students familiarise themselves with the real world of their prospective career from any location, and at any time. The virtual experience will be accessible to students over a web browser, which ensures it is available to every student and does not require the utilisation of equipment such as virtual reality headsets.

The goal of KBYG is to provide an inclusive platform to ensure students feel more comfortable in the lab environments and practical activities by reducing the potential stress and anxiety caused by a lack of exposure.



The Challenge resulted in the construction of a prototype which has the potential to enable student nurses to gain insight into the practical experience virtually, increasing their readiness, and reducing their anxiety, before the actual experience.

Students will be able to have unlimited access to the virtual environment to give them flexibility to learn at their own pace prior to the commencement of practical trainings.

The next steps being taken are by a cohort of Swinburne University of Technology students with capabilities and knowledge in the fields of software engineering, computer science, and film and media studies.

The students are leading the development of a scaled deployment of the initial prototype as their capstone project in 2021, with the support of Swinburne and AWS. Our goal is to deliver a platform that is inclusive and gives students confidence to complete the practical training and meet their graduation requirements.


Special thanks

  • Kathi Horton, Program Manager, Diploma of Nursing, Swinburne Online 
  • Samar Zutshi, Innovation and Strategic Initiatives Director, Swinburne Online
  • Richard Oliver, Senior Learning Designer, Swinburne Online
  • Janine Harper, Program Director, Swinburne Online
  • Sigrid Birzer, Vocational Learning Advisor, Swinburne Online
  • Sandy White, Vocational Learning Advisor, Swinburne Online
  • Kim Vincs, Professor and Director, Centre for Transformative Media Technologies, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Haydon Bakker, Game Developer, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Catherine Eibner, Digital Innovation Lead, Amazon Web Services
  • Mark Seddon, Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services
  • Ananya Bansal, Data for Social Good Cloud Innovation Centre Intern
  • Rahul Soni, Data for Social Good Cloud Innovation Centre Intern

Know Before You Go

Online Education Services Nursing Innovation Challenge at Swinburne Cloud Innovation Centre.