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Designing and Evaluating Virtual Reality for Learning


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Presentation Delivered at EDUCASUE ELI 2017

Virtual reality is a recognized method for creating highly immersive and pedagogically valuable learning experiences, when appropriately designed. The cost to create and view VR has previously meant that this method of teaching has been limited to those with ample resources. This presentation will outline a number of off-the-shelf technologies that can been used to create and view simple VR experiences. Applications of VR will be presented, including orientation to learning laboratories and virtual fieldwork tours. Based on these scenarios, lessons learned in terms of designing these experiences, educational value, and current technological limitations will be outlined.

Outcomes: Learn about the potential of VR and identify applications within your own context
*Explore some of the ubiquitous tools (software and hardware) that can be used to create VR experiences and understand their limitations
*Explore a model that can be used to design and evaluate the affordances and pedagogical value of educational VR experiences

Published in: Education
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Designing and Evaluating Virtual Reality for Learning

  1. 1. Designing Virtual Reality for Education Farzana Latif University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
  2. 2. Outline • What is VR • Educational value • Designing VR • Examples • Enabling technologies and their limitations • Horizon
  3. 3. What is Virtual Reality? A high-end user interface that involves real time simulation and interaction through multiple sensorial channels (vision, taste, smell, touch) Girgorie and Phillipe (2003) Around since the 60’s Now, more achievable
  4. 4. Example combines external devices collaborative
  5. 5. Immersive He thought there was a table thereso immersive you can forget where you are
  6. 6. Educational Value • Experience the Un-Experienceable • Historical, Scientific, Medical • Inaccessible places • View from a different perspective • Orientations • Environmental Observations • Immersive Storytelling • Simulated Practice • Training to operate complex machinery Dalgarno and Lee (2010) inside the human body
  7. 7. Designing for Learning Intended Learning Outcomes Achieved Learning Outcomes Empathy Reification Identification Conceptualisation Construction Dialogue Presence Identity Co-Presence Representati onal Fidelity Learner Interaction Learning Requirement Task Affordances Learning Specification adapted from Fowler 2014 pedagogical benefits technology benefits learning experience psychological experience
  8. 8. Accessible for All Creating ‘Simple VR’ experiences. Easier (in terms of time) to create, inexpensive. More accessible option. Can be created and viewed by all. Capturing real world. Creating advanced VR experiences can take time, requires expert skills (e.g. 3D modelling, coding), costly, inaccessible. focus ‘Reusable VR’ experiences, (e.g. Google Expeditions)
  9. 9. Orientation Lab students don’t enter the lab until year 2 they are divided into 2 groups time is limited, they suffer from anxiety offers an orientation to lab view entire lab, from a different perspective make most of contact time, flipped resource access to restricted areas unable to explore the entire lab
  10. 10. Orientation - Lab combine existing resources embed video and (spatial) audio add hotspots
  11. 11. Orientation - Lab no interaction, other than click on view camera quality analytics - limited RoundME YouVisit - view with cardboard gamification, individualised experience Limitations
  12. 12. Landscape tasked with redesigning landscape access is restricted or dangerous saves travel time and money used as a point of reference (spatial knowledge) see things you might have missed 83% (n. 30) found this useful as a site reference overlay images to recreate the landscape capture seasons/important to visit as many times as possible
  13. 13. Landscape Google street view app - view with cardboard smell audio seasons
  14. 14. Fieldwork preparation for field trip access to an area you are unable to view where should the viewer focus keeping the cameraman out of shot field trips are expensive and difficult to organise students can learn from each other’s trip students can learn from each other
  15. 15. Orientation Lab filming time (5 mins- new Ricoh, 25 mins - old Ricoh) camera quality unable to add hotspotsYouTube Facebook Video WondaVR/ThingLink Kaltura (above do not allow editing) Sprawly more advanced option - GoProVR overlaying 3D models Limitations
  16. 16. Evaluation with Students • Pre and Post Test • Suggestions to Improve Experiences • Usability and Educational Effectiveness • Perceived Value Christine Youngblut (1998)
  17. 17. Student Work
  18. 18. Considerations • Experiences are short lived (THE, 2016) • Ergonomics, nausea, pains, don’t work well with glasses • Creating truly immersive experiences - in built interaction needed • Many platforms are in beta • Quality of camera and cheap viewers • Cost of more expensive headsets • Cross platform experiences • Too much Interaction can be distracting avoid recreating the real classroom. Fowler (2014) Little evaluation across the sector raises queries of investment vs. impact
  19. 19. Near Future Two Eyes Mixed Reality (AR and VR) Education and Industry Headset Compatibility
  20. 20. Useful Tools • Creating high quality VR can take time, requires expert skills VR Worlds (3D Social Tools) ALTSpaceVR, vTime and Immersion VR, Edorble • customisation varies • many in beta mode Coding Unity WebVR 3D modelling CoSpaces(beta mode) Out of the Box Google Expeditions Web Interface/No Coding RoundME Holobuilder
  21. 21. References/Bibliography • AltspaceVR (2017) Be there, together. Available at: (Accessed: 15 January 2017). • Case Western Reserve University (2016) Microsoft HoloLens lets case western reserve, Cleveland Clinic reimagine health education. Available at: (Accessed: 27 January 2017). • DavidMJourno (2017) VR: A new dimension in learning? Available at: (Accessed: 15 January 2017). • Dredge, S. (2016) The complete guide to virtual reality – everything you need to get started. Available at: reality-guide-headsets-apps-games-vr?CMP=share_btn_tw (Accessed: 15 January 2017). • Flanigan, T. (no date) Fitness meets VR gaming with this badass flying machine. Available at: flying/#9_pqMkNyOaq9 (Accessed: 27 January 2017). • Foods, H. (2017) The black market - bacon virtual reality viewer. Available at: bacon-virtual-reality-viewer (Accessed: 15 January 2017). • Fowler, C. (2014) ‘Virtual reality and learning: Where is the pedagogy?’, British Journal of Educational Technology, 46(2), pp. 412–422. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12135. • Kenwright, M. (2016) VTime: The VR sociable network - out now for gear VR, Oculus rift, iPhone, Google daydream, and Google cardboard. Available at: (Accessed: 15 January 2017). • Martín-Gutiérrez, J. (2016) ‘Virtual technologies trends in education’, EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 13(1). doi: 10.12973/eurasia.2017.00626a. • Maxbox VR (2017) Maxbox VR. Available at: (Accessed: 15 January 2017). • Ng, A. (2016) Facebook shows how it’s gonna make virtual reality social. Available at: virtual-reality-chat-with-oculus-rift/ (Accessed: 15 January 2017). • Tarr, M.J. and Warren, W.H. (2002) ‘Virtual reality in behavioral neuroscience and beyond’, Nature Neuroscience, 5(Supp), pp. 1089–1092. doi: 10.1038/nn948. • Theta tools: Softwares, apps and online programs (2017) Available at: online-programs/1711017565783099 (Accessed: 15 January 2017). • University of Westminster academics collaborate in developing cutting-edge games for criminal law students (2016) Available at: and-events/news/2016/university-of-westminster-academics-collaborate-in-developing-cutting-edge-games-for-criminal-law-students (Accessed: 15 January 2017).
  22. 22. Questions Farzana Latif Technology Enhanced Learning Manager University of Sheffield @farzanalatif