Introducing Virtual Reality for the next billion
Training Modules for rural community health workers in India
Top 3 things to know about this project
Assam has the highest maternal mortality rate in India (237 women die out of 1,00,000 during pregnancy or birth).

Community health workers are their primary (often only) point of contact.

For over 2 years, we worked with National Rural health department of India, and IBM Research labs to improve the health care training of these community health-care workers.
My Journey
Who are ASHAs?
Accredited social health activists (ASHAs) are community health workers instituted by the government of India. The plan is to have "an ASHA in every village”, and a total of 870,089 ASHA workers were reported in July 2013 in India.

ASHAs are the primary contact for villagers. They are respected role-models of the community and take care of common diseases and pregnant women.
User Research
We visited the rural districts of Assam to conduct field studies. The biggest barrier for me as a designer was the language. While we had translators, but you have to establish the trust factor in them solely through your actions and body language to get them to share their real stories.
Affinity Mapping and Persona
Next step was to codify all that data we had gathered on the field. We coded them into snippets and sorted them to discover the major themes.
Challenges and Defining the Goals
Structuring and Designing the Training Modules
Divinding the huge 6 booklets into small consummable modules was our next big challenge. It took us almost a month to come up with a structure and creating storyboards for all the modules.
Why VR?
Studies show VR can help recall, mainly because of “apple-to-apple” comparision while training and actual practice.
Design Process for Virtual Reality
We followed a detailed design process, led by Dr Keyur Sorathia. Here is a brief description of the steps and decisions we took.
Novelty factors of Pragati
The concept and design of the modules is very unique. It is very contextual and inclusive, targetting our audience.
The team led by Dr.Keyur Sorathia recently launched our initiative "Pragati" in Sonitpur and Bishwanath district in Assam. We conducted training and workshop sessions with around 400 rural health workers. The training was conducted to explain to them the methods of its field usage and maximum impact in uplifting maternal and child healthcare.
How did we ensure ASHAs actually use Pragati?
Sure, the modules are engaging and new. What happens after they see it one? What happens after they see it once? 

We realized we needed to create a habit amongst our users of continuously learning and also learning together. That is how we decided to shift our focus to a peer learning platform. I will put up a case study for that soon.
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