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
My name is Farzana Latif and my role if Technology Enhanced Learning Manager at the University of Sheffield.
Many of you will aware of what Virtual Reality is. Girgorie and Phillipe describe it as a real time simulation which allows integration through different sensorial channels. VR is defiantly not a new phenomom, it has been around since the 1960s. Arguably over the last 20 years becoming a more achievable option and thanks to powerful mobile devices, with the supplement of a google cardboard and some headphones most of us can experience VR with technology we already have.
In Virtual Reality you are completely immersed in a digital environment. This is different to Augmented Reality where digital media is imposed on the world around you. This is shown on this mixed reality continuum. I think its important to make this distinction as in some of the literature I have read the two terms sometime get merged.
Looking at some modern examples, we can see how some of the more high end virtual reality combine external devices and enable collaboration. The first picture shows someone experiencing a VR fitness game. Supported by the machines that she is standing on, she feels like she is flying and she is improving her fitness levels at the same time.
The next image. The two learners can explore and interact with this 3D model together. (Case Western Reserve, Cleveland Clinic).
VR can be an extremely immersive expereience, Ronnie O’ Suullival - world snooker champion trying VR snooker, shows just how immersive it can be as he plays VR snooker. The experience is so real that he forgets he is in a Virtual World.
This model is developed by Fowler and is focused on designing 3D Virtual Learning Environments and is derived from the work of others. outlines the importance of learning values left hand side helps us think about the pedagogical benefits these map onto the learning and psychological immersive experiences the right hand side focuses on what the technology itself can offer and enables us to think about how we can achieve this.
Representational fidelity - how realistic the scene is, not just how real. One risk with high-fidelity 3-D VLEs is that they will be used to create virtual classrooms that “feel” and look like real classrooms but lose the opportunity to create pedagogically new and innovative learning environments.
A number of out of the box VR solutions exist, examples include Google expeditions, which allows you to be immersed in places all over the world and some educators are sharing the VR experiences, the University of Liverpool in the UK have created VR simulations that take you inside the human body. But the problem with using tools like this is that they aresn’t necessarily going to be aligned to your educational scenario.
On the other hand to create some of the experiences I have showed so far, takes a lot of skills and require high cost devices. So its not always achievable for everyone.
As I mentioned I am going to focus on ‘simple’ VR experiences. To create our VR experience we will be relying on a 360 camera and web based software to edit and share them. These experiences can be viewed with higher end smart phones (that have a gyroscope and now what direction you are looking) and the relatively cheap Google cardboard.
There are many camera, how do they compare: http://www.vrjournalism.io/2016/11/01/360-shootout-camera-comparison/
If you can’t get access to a 360 camera, try Google Cardboard Camera on your mobile, it stiches photos together
Google cardboard viewers
Going to focus on creating simpler experiences, that offer pedagogic value and will outline tools that can be used to create these experiences.
Image Attributes: HTC Vive Google Cardboard Ricoh Theta
This first example provides an orientation to a Chemistry Lab. In their Degree in Chemistry students do not actually enter a lab until the 2nd year. Its a very large space and when they do they often feel anxious about the experience. This VR experience was created
Boinx Software <— brings in 360 video http://edorble.com/ focusing on cameras and experiencing real environments in an educational context
low cost things that work with smart phones
Designing and Evaluating Virtual Reality for Learning
Designing Virtual Reality
University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
• What is VR
• Educational value
• Designing VR
• Enabling technologies
and their limitations
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
He thought there was a table thereso immersive you can forget where you are
• Experience the Un-Experienceable
• Historical, Scientific, Medical
• Inaccessible places
• View from a different perspective
• Environmental Observations
• Immersive Storytelling
• Simulated Practice
• Training to operate complex machinery Dalgarno and Lee (2010)
inside the human body
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.
‘Reusable VR’ experiences, (e.g.
students don’t enter the
lab until year 2
they are divided into 2
time is limited, they
suffer from anxiety
offers an orientation to
view entire lab, from a
make most of contact
time, flipped resource
access to restricted
unable to explore the
Orientation - Lab
embed video and
Orientation - Lab
no interaction, other
than click on view
analytics - limited
- view with
tasked with redesigning
access is restricted or
saves travel time and
used as a point of
see things you might
83% (n. 30) found this
useful as a site
overlay images to
recreate the landscape
visit as many times as
Google street view
- view with
smell audio seasons
preparation for field trip
access to an area you
are unable to view
where should 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
filming time (5 mins-
new Ricoh, 25 mins -
unable to add hotspotsYouTube
(above do not allow
more advanced option -
overlaying 3D models
Evaluation with Students
• Pre and Post Test
• Suggestions to Improve
• Usability and Educational
• Perceived Value
Christine Youngblut (1998)
• Experiences are short lived
• Ergonomics, nausea, pains,
don’t work well with glasses
• Creating truly immersive
experiences - in built
• Many platforms are in beta
• Quality of camera and cheap
• Cost of more expensive
• Cross platform experiences
• Too much Interaction can be
avoid recreating the real
Little evaluation across the
sector raises queries of
investment vs. impact
(AR and VR)
• 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
Out of the Box
Web Interface/No Coding
• AltspaceVR (2017) Be there, together. Available at: http://altspacevr.com (Accessed: 15 January 2017).
• Case Western Reserve University (2016) Microsoft HoloLens lets case western reserve, Cleveland Clinic reimagine health education. Available at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4isrqqTlQA (Accessed: 27 January 2017).
• DavidMJourno (2017) VR: A new dimension in learning? Available at: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/vr-new-dimension-learning (Accessed: 15
• Dredge, S. (2016) The complete guide to virtual reality – everything you need to get started. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/10/virtual-
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: http://mashable.com/2017/01/12/fitness-vr-gaming-
flying/#9_pqMkNyOaq9 (Accessed: 27 January 2017).
• Foods, H. (2017) The black market - bacon virtual reality viewer. Available at: https://buy.blacklabelbacon.com/collections/merchandise/products/the-black-market-
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:
https://vtime.net/vtime (Accessed: 15 January 2017).
• Martín-Gutiérrez, J. (2016) ‘Virtual technologies trends in education’, EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 13(1). doi:
• Maxbox VR (2017) Maxbox VR. Available at: https://www.maxboxvr.com/ (Accessed: 15 January 2017).
• Ng, A. (2016) Facebook shows how it’s gonna make virtual reality social. Available at: https://www.cnet.com/uk/news/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-shows-off-live-vr-
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: https://www.facebook.com/notes/ricoh-theta-users-on-facebook/theta-tools-softwares-apps-and-
online-programs/1711017565783099 (Accessed: 15 January 2017).
• University of Westminster academics collaborate in developing cutting-edge games for criminal law students (2016) Available at: https://www.westminster.ac.uk/news-
and-events/news/2016/university-of-westminster-academics-collaborate-in-developing-cutting-edge-games-for-criminal-law-students (Accessed: 15 January 2017).
University of Sheffield