Many topics are best understood by a student after a period of self-directed evaluation. This may be as simple as taking notes and reading them back later, or as complex as creating bespoke artefacts which are meaningful to the student. It is currently difficult to take notes and export materials from VR into the student’s study domain
This is an activity where there is little reliance on study aids, and the immersion is the driving force behind achieving the learning outcome. .
This format contains too much information to be processed at once, and creates a disconnect between theory and practice. A student may feel inclined to make notes in this type of scenario but a clunky attempt to allow this in VR would become a barrier to the immersion and fluidity of the experience.
Some educational experiences can still be viable in VR even if they fail to tick most boxes, but only when they are used as supplementary pieces to more thorough pieces of learning.
A good standalone experience would allow students to complete their learning with little need to reference external sources of information (external to the VR environment, i.e. the real world). While dipping in and out of VR during an experience is doable, it is certainly not desirable. It is important to understand the physical relationship between the learning objects as well as the pedagogical relationship.
Conversational fluency requires practice and repetition, and the student has the opportunity to do this solely within the VR experience. If further understanding is needed, extra learning content can be studied asynchronously through other formats.
A student will develop accuracy by referring back and forth between the experience and their notes and/or dictionary to reinforce their understanding.
This question is concerned with applied knowledge. Experiential activities tend to spread the cognitive load during study, and lend themselves to VR experiences where the student has an opportunity to apply theory to reality.
This example allows students to not only apply their externally acquired expertise in a safe environment, but also gives them the opportunity to learn through trial and error without the potential cost implications and dangers of actual experimentation
The difference between this example and the one above, is mostly a matter of interaction. True to experiential learning, students in the good example are able to learn by proactively seeking answers, whereas in this example, students are merely shown the answers
Accuracy is mostly problematic when working with 3D models, especially if students are being asked to learn from them. If you have access to a 3D modeller or bespoke model creation then you are in a good position to ensure the consistency and quality of your assets, though you should be mindful of the costs and lead times involved with this approach. If you haven’t got access to bespoke assets, or don’t need them, then off-the-shelf options can be useful for keeping time and costs down, but they could be potentially inaccurate.
When working with rich environments, there is a tendency to put immersion above all else, and while this plays well to VR’s strengths, it can come at the expense of robust pedagogy. An alternative format or a simpler objective can help mitigate the potential weaknesses in the learning
In VR, learning opportunities are made better by being tied to the physical environment, but in this example you must think carefully about whether you can acquire or accurately replicate the hieroglyphs
‘Interacting’ includes any form of dependency on the environment. This interaction needn’t just be physical either – simply looking at the environment is enough to meet this criteria as long as the students are learning something by doing so. This question can often lead into another which is just as important: “Can your experience be achieved just as well, or even better, in another format?”
Practising how to operate a crane safely in a facsimile of the real world will allow students to practically translate their virtual experience into something workable with real cranes
Aside from large pieces of text and extended prose not displaying well in VR, this example makes little use of VR’s practical potential. Although text can be interacted with, assimilating its content would be easier on screen or in print
‘Immersive environment’ refers to a tangible environment within the virtual world which can be interacted with. It ultimately boils down to whether the learning is in some way connected to the environment you have created; the weaker this connection, the weaker the case for VR. (Also bear in mind that while important to VR, immersion alone doesn’t increase understanding and should not be used in place of learning content.)
Mars is a place students can’t otherwise visit, and it has great immersive potential, made even more so when combined with practical applications of theoretical learning
In this case, Mars is still the environment in question, but immersion no longer plays a part in student understanding. Presenting the map (even an interactive one) on screen or printed out may be a better option