Canadian Partnerships
Sub Menu

Main Content


Using Virtual Simulations to Enhance Healthcare Education

Work-integrated learning opportunities in the health care sector, typically known as clinical placements, have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which made in-person placements much harder to organize. The Virtu-WIL​ initiative helps address these challenges by creating new and innovative virtual ways for healthcare students in nursing, medical laboratory sciences, and paramedicine to acquire competencies and make valuable connections with employers.

As part of this project, CICan is collaborating with Simulation Canada, and with colleges, institutes and universities from across the country, to offer students innovative work-integrated learning opportunities using virtual simulation.

This initiative creates sustainable, collaborative partnerships between post-secondary institutions, employers, students and suppliers to develop, implement and distribute virtual WIL simulation opportunities.

The Virtu-WIL program also recognizes students for participating in a combination of virtual simulations and structured interactions with employers and helps them develop practical, job-ready competencies.

For more information on Virtu-WIL, contact

Access the collection!

Educators across Canada can now freely access 137 new virtual simulations designed to give students in nursing, medical laboratory sciences, and paramedicine innovative hands-on learning experiences.

These virtual simulations are simulated clinical experiences created by Canadian educators and based on defined pedagogical objectives. The collection is now available through Simulation Canada, a key partner on the project.

Use these simulations to enhance your curriculum!

What is a virtual simulation:

Virtual simulations are simulated clinical experiences run on a computer and accessed via a two dimensional screen and/or a virtual reality headset. Students, alone or in groups, are presented with a clinical situation to investigate, make decisions, then receive feedback on their decisions. Virtual simulations are designed by educators based on well-defined pedagogical objectives and clinical competencies. Educators use authoring platforms designed by suppliers who provide support and professional services during the development process and make the simulations available to students.

4 scopes of virtual simulations:

Cognitive graphic image

Cognitive: Gather information and analyse it, apply knowledge and clinical reasoning, develop decision-making.

Procedures graphic image

Procedures: Analyse and take action on indications, contraindications, risks, steps of a procedure, choice of equipments and techniques.

Interprofessional graphic image

Interprofessional: Foster teamwork, designed for team learning and interprofessional education.

Non-technical graphic image

Non-technical: Develop competencies such as communication, professionalism, empathy, ethics.


Main Partner

Simulation Canada

Post- secondary Institution Partners

Other Partners

Fast Facts

  • Colleges, institutes and universities across Canada currently offer 308 nursing programs, 93 medical laboratory sciences programs, and 55 paramedicine programs.
  • Virtual simulations are developed on multiple platforms selected through an open procurement process.
  • In 2021-2022, 37 post-secondary institutions worked together to develop 130 virtual simulations and design the Virtu-WIL Student Program.
  • More than 2,000 students have successfully completed the Virtu-WIL program as of March 31st, 2022.
  • Three advisory committees have been created to guide the project, bringing perspectives of large, small, urban, rural, and Northern institutions from across the country.

Funded By

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) via The Innovative Work-Integrated Learning Initiative –

Sustainable Development Goals

  • Goal 4: Quality Education
  • Goal 5: Gender Equality
  • Goal 10: Reduced Inequality
  • Goal 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
Learn More