University of Oulu

Björn MH, Laurila JM, Ravyse W, Kukkonen J, Leivo S, Mäkitalo K, Keinonen T, Learning Impact of a Virtual Brain Electrical Activity Simulator Among Neurophysiology Students: Mixed-Methods Intervention Study, JMIR Serious Games 2020;8(4):e18768, doi: 10.2196/18768

Learning impact of a virtual brain electrical activity simulator among neurophysiology students : mixed-methods intervention study

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Author: Björn, Marko Henrik1; Laurila, Jonne MM2; Ravyse, Werner3;
Organizations: 1School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, Joensuu, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
2Institute of Biomedicine, Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
3Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku, Finland
4Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
5Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: JMIR Publications, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-03-08


Background: Virtual simulation is the re-creation of reality depicted on a computer screen. It offers the possibility to exercise motor and psychomotor skills. In biomedical and medical education, there is an attempt to find new ways to support students’ learning in neurophysiology. Traditionally, recording electroencephalography (EEG) has been learned through practical hands-on exercises. To date, virtual simulations of EEG measurements have not been used.

Objective: This study aimed to examine the development of students’ theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the EEG measurement when using a virtual EEG simulator in biomedical laboratory science in the context of a neurophysiology course.

Methods: A computer-based EEG simulator was created. The simulator allowed virtual electrode placement and EEG graph interpretation. The usefulness of the simulator for learning EEG measurement was tested with 35 participants randomly divided into three equal groups. Group 1 (experimental group 1) used the simulator with fuzzy feedback, group 2 (experimental group 2) used the simulator with exact feedback, and group 3 (control group) did not use a simulator. The study comprised pre- and posttests on theoretical knowledge and practical hands-on evaluation of EEG electrode placement.

Results: The Wilcoxon signed-rank test indicated that the two groups that utilized a computer-based electrode placement simulator showed significant improvement in both theoretical knowledge (Z=1.79, P=.074) and observed practical skills compared with the group that studied without a simulator.

Conclusions: Learning electrode placement using a simulator enhances students’ ability to place electrodes and, in combination with practical hands-on training, increases their understanding of EEG measurement.

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Series: JMIR serious games
ISSN: 2291-9279
ISSN-E: 2291-9279
ISSN-L: 2291-9279
Volume: 8
Issue: 4
Article number: e18768
DOI: 10.2196/18768
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © Marko Henrik Björn, Jonne MM Laurila, Werner Ravyse, Jari Kukkonen, Sanna Leivo, Kati Mäkitalo, Tuula Keinonen. Originally published in JMIR Serious Games (, 30.12.2020. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Serious Games, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.