Professor Debra Kiegaldie has been awarded a 12-month Study Melbourne Research Partnerships program grant for her project titled…

The COIL project: Building an international nursing education and research partnership using digital technologies

International Partner: Northwestern Polytechnic, Canada 

Holmesglen is the only Australian TAFE to offer a Bachelor of Nursing and has invested over $5 million in dedicated teaching wards and simulation centres at its health precinct in Moorabbin, including Holmesglen Private Hospital – the first TAFE-based hospital in Australia.  Northwestern Polytechnic Research and Innovation (RI) has overseen a range of applied research activities, from large, major funded, international multi-partnered initiatives to smaller student-based work. Northwestern Polytechnic’s flagship research facility, the National Bee Diagnostic Centre, routinely works with international researchers, funders, and agencies.

Using virtual reality to educate nurses around the world

  • Provides a foundation for nursing education to continue no matter where people are located or other challenges facing countries
  • New technologies allow nursing educators to engage students in experiential learning, previously off limits to those living in other countries
  • Important project to support development of healthcare workforce in Australia and overseas



Learn more about the other researchers who have also been awarded a Study Melbourne Research Partnerships program grant in 2021.

While collaborative online international learning (COIL) offers meaningful, rewarding opportunities to engage across borders, regardless of personal constraints or economic challenges, few examples exist in nursing education. Using virtual reality and cloud-based communication platforms, Holmesglen Institute in Victoria and Northwestern Polytechnic in Alberta, Canada will develop a new, experiential-based online learning program for nurses.

The aim will be to create multiple online environments that facilitate collaborative research projects, provide access to joint resources, enable nursing students to work together regardless of their global location, and build workforce capacity and capabilities. Additionally, it will cultivate an international community of practice.

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the international healthcare education landscape and the World Health Organization’s call for the nursing profession to practice, lead and adapt to increasingly diverse populations, the value of building and sustaining international connections has never been more important. The increased use of collaborative digital learning technologies presents an opportunity to deepen global engagement of place-bound students and educators.

This project will further the research collaboration, put on hold during COVID-19, between the two organisations, and provide reportable research outcomes and tangible products that can be profiled across the international nursing and simulation community. It will also promote Victoria as a pioneering and high-quality education provider in both vocational and higher education.