VR provides new opportunities and challenges for educators because of its highly immersive nature and ability to support experiential learning (Minocha and Reeves, 2010). Existing studies observe that teaching with 3D environments causes changes in pedagogy (Bamford, 2011; Keengwe and Onchwari, 2011) for its use to be effective. Such changes are not well understood for VR because there is a lack of published research to inform pedagogic and instructional design guidelines for VR environments (Minocha and Hardy, 2016).
There is a need to establish what the pedagogic affordances of VR are in the context of higher education and how these can be exploited by educators to enhance the learning experience. This leaves a number of unanswered questions, such as ‘can VR withstand the fragility of novelty?’, ‘how can we assess learning in virtual environments?’, and ‘how do we design for VR over traditional media, or other 3D environments?’.
The presenters will outline the innovative work of two projects seeking to understand the affordances of virtual reality technology by demonstrating both VR experiences. The first is designed to support legal skills training, by providing students with virtual practice in presenting face-to-face in a school environment. The second is a virtual oceanographic field trip to aid learning about ocean circulation patterns and data central to understanding regulation of the Earth’s climate.
Design, production and small early evaluation, using a small sample, has resulted in instructional design guidelines for VR experiences, which we will present in the form of a provisional framework. Further evaluation of both VR experiences is planned for early 2018; we hope our early insights will be a useful contribution to developing instructional design guidelines for virtual reality environments.
After the session, participants will be able to trial the applications, using their own smart phones and the VR headsets provided.
Bamford, A. (2011) Evaluation of innovation in learning using emerging technologies. London: report for LiFE: Learning in Future Education.
Keengwe, J. and Onchwari, G. (2011) Fostering meaningful student learning through constructivist pedagogy and technology integration. In L.A. Tomei (ed.) Learning tools and teaching approaches through ICT advancements,Hershey: IGI Global, pp. 239–249.
Minocha, S. and Hardy, C. (2016) Navigation and wayfinding in learning spaces in 3D virtual worlds. In Gregory, S., Lee, M., Mark, J.W., Dalgarno, B. and Tynan, B. (eds) Learning in Virtual Worlds: Research and Application. Athabasca University, Canada: Athabasca University Press, pp. 3–41.
Minocha, S. and Reeves, A.J. (2010) ‘Design of learning spaces in 3D virtual worlds: an empirical investigation of second life learning’, Media and Technology, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 111-137.