Enhancing motor learning using virtual rehabilitation – new ways to deliver old tricks

KEYNOTE // Mindy F. Levin, PT, professor, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The primary focus of neurological rehabilitation is the reacquisition of lost motor skills to improve independence in activities of daily living and quality of life. To achieve this, rehabilitation takes advantage of central nervous system neuroplasticity through motor learning mechanisms.

Mindy Levin describes how motor learning mechanisms can be addressed by creating enriched training environments using virtual reality (VR) based simulations. Motor control and motor learning principles related to the reacquisition of upper limb motor skills will be discussed in relation to how they can be exploited by VR training environments.

Key outcome measures identifies, and examples of how motor control and motor learning principles have been incorporated into different VR simulations for improving upper limb motor function and/or recovery will be provided. Finally, the effectiveness of current VR technologies, client suitability for the use of different learning approaches, and transfer of learning to daily life tasks will be discussed.

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