Open the VALT™

What is it?

Open the VALT™ is a teaching strategy that engages learners in a multimodal approach. It facilitates all individual learning styles; visual, auditory, reading & writing and kinaesthetic; enabling both surface and deep learners to engage with the scenario.

Open the VALT™ (Visually Authentic Learning Tool) scenario boxes are educational tools created to support student learning. The VALT™ (Visually Authentic Learning Tool) is a three dimensional box that represents a written scenario. The sides of the box are laminated with images of the authentic environment as described in the scenario. Small dolls are used to represent the situation in the scenario. The box has a laminated scenario, as traditionally used in scenario based learning, adhered to the inside of the lid.

Why ‘VALT’?

  • The vault refers to the head; symbolizing learning & retention of information; gaining understanding (McCance & Huether, 2010).
  • The head contains the brain, where emotion, memory and learning can occur (McCance & Huether, 2010).
  • Learning occurs when we open our minds.
  • The expression, locked in the vault infers safe keeping.


The VALT’s objective is to open the mind of the learner to facilitate learning via the visual representation of an authentic real life simulation designed to enhance and bring to life the written scenario. Visual prompts included in the images included in the VALT aim to increase the authenticity and to enhance the understanding of the scenario for the learner. Each VALT is developed to meet the students learning needs by providing a visual simulation of a real life situation that:

  • engages students
  • is authentic, realistic and safe
  • develops clinical decision making and develops visual assessment of a situation
  • multimodal learning
  • fun, collaborative that fosters immersion and understanding
  • allows students to ‘feel’ it, encouraging memory
  • ‘locking it in the VALT’.


Open the VALT™ was created by Vanessa Ackland Tilbrook in direct response to the feedback from students regarding scenario based learning in an undergraduate midwifery program. Students expressed that they felt scenarios were repetitive and boring, that they needed to see it to truly understand it. When surveyed on their learning styles, results of the online quiz discovered that a high number of students were visual learners. Therefore Open the VALTs were created to meet the need of the student group to facilitate their learning and meet their learning needs.

Vanessa Ackland Tilbrook is a Registered General Nurse with post graduate certificates in Paediatrics and Paediatric Intensive Care. Her qualifications also include a Graduate Diploma in Midwifery and a Graduate Certificate in Education – Academic Practice. Currently she is completing a Masters by Higher Degree in Research. Vanessa has over four years’ experience in education and has experience in curriculum writing. Her strengths lay in creativity, innovation and developing interactive, student focused learning activities.

Recently, her article regarding Open the VALT™ has been published online with Nurse Education in Practice. It can be found at: Open the VALT: creation and application of a Visually Authentic Learning Tool


The VALT’s have the potential to be adopted and used across any discipline especially within health sciences but also are potentially useful in any discipline which uses scenarios to teach concepts.


Vanessa Ackland Tilbrook

Email: Send email to Vanessa

ABN: 30361465101

Open the VALT™ Price List

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Qty Item # Unit Price $AU
1 Pregnant ‘Mary’ Female Doll (includes baby) 35.00
1 ‘Michelle’ Doll – non-pregnant, with bendable legs 15.00
1 Male doll 15.00
1 Female Child Doll 5.00
1 Baby Doll 2.00
1 Bed 5.00
1 Laminated sides (pack of four) 15.00
1 Laminated floor (pack of 1) 5.00
1 Blanket 2.00
1 Scenario with visuals (blood loss, pumps, CTG images) 65.00
1 Box 20.00
1 Basic VALT starter pack
(includes, box, Pregnant female doll, baby, bed, laminated sides, floor, blanket and 1 scenario)
1 Postage and Handling 10.00*
*Postage and handling may vary– dependent upon delivery location.
Additional resources can be made upon request
Incubator On request