Review article (meta-analysis)| Volume 99, ISSUE 11, P2313-2341, November 2018

Use of Virtual Technology as an Intervention for Wheelchair Skills Training: A Systematic Review

Published:March 09, 2018DOI:



      To provide a comprehensive description of the current state of knowledge regarding the use of virtual technology (VT) for wheelchair skills training.

      Data Sources

      The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, ACM, IEEE Xplore, Inspec, and Web of Science databases were searched for relevant articles from 1990 to February 2016.

      Study Selection

      We included peer-reviewed studies or long conference proceedings that examined the use of VT as a medium to provide a wheelchair skills training intervention for any population with any diagnosis using any research design. One investigator screened the titles and abstracts, then 2 investigators independently reviewed the full-text articles. Disagreements regarding inclusion were resolved by consensus or a third reviewer. Ten studies were included out of 4994 initially identified.

      Data Extraction

      Two investigators extracted data to systematically assess the studies’ findings into 5 tables (study design and participant characteristics, equipment and technology used, intervention characteristics, outcome measures, and outcomes).

      Data Synthesis

      Most studies demonstrated that VT wheelchair skills training showed improved outcomes (eg, simulation score, completion time, number of collisions) in the virtual environment and/or in the real world. However, subject characteristics, equipment, virtual environment, intervention tasks, and outcome measures varied across the studies.


      There are a variety of studies using VT as an intervention for wheelchair skills training. Given the positive outcomes for most of the studies, it appears as though VT may indeed be a solution that can help to alleviate barriers to wheelchair skills training and subsequently improve wheelchair user skill.


      List of abbreviations:

      MWC (manual wheelchair), PWC (power wheelchair), VE (virtual environment), VT (virtual technology), WST (Wheelchair Skills Test)
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