Opportunities and Challenges for VR-mediated Educational Resources: An Educators' Perspective

Sims, R. and Karnik, A. (2022) Opportunities and Challenges for VR-mediated Educational Resources: An Educators' Perspective. In: EDULEARN22 Proceedings. 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies . IATED, ESP, pp. 8810-8819. ISBN 9788409424849

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Abstract

Virtual Reality (VR) has the potential to significantly impact education and specifically students’ engagement in the learning process. VR offers environments that can simulate both real and fantastical worlds. These worlds offer pseudo-physical interactions, which has been shown to improve engagement, and also provides extensive opportunities to explore spatial organization strategies. For VR it is essential to understand the types of activities that benefit the learning process, for which educators are best placed to determine. To realize the benefits of VR, it is important to understand barriers facing the adoption of this technology. This study, through surveys and interviews with practicing educators, aims to understand the challenges of educational resource creation and its relation to the wider adoption of VR technologies within education. It is positioned as exploratory in nature, the results determining the potential scope for further investigations. Data from 61 survey respondents and 5 interviewees was analyzed through quantitative and qualitative methods including inductive thematic analysis. For VR adoption within education, we found the overwhelming majority of respondents were receptive and identified interesting and unique ways in using this technology with thought exercises (mind mapping etc.) being mentioned a significant number of times. This presents an opportunity for educational VR activities to be used in an intriguing and topic agnostic way, pushing beyond the limited scope of simulations usually presented in VR. Some educators expressed negative emotions over using VR (apprehension, terror, rage etc.) and interview responses showed a relationship between how educators want to use VR and how difficult or time consuming it would be to populate VR environments with the required teaching/learning resources. Many educators could not effectively communicate how they would approach creating these resources, highlighting a toolset gap that educators require bridging to effectively use VR for learning activities. This is in line with our findings that educators are willing to utilize advanced authoring tools to create resources but are frustrated by the lack of tools which are designed to lower resource creation time. In addition to this, we identify opportunities related to introducing VR to learning environments. This includes improving collaboration, sharing of good practice, training and access to resource repositories should all be considered in addition to the obvious capital and infrastructure cost. The equivalent challenge is that the skills, resources and time required to deploy VR resources in the classroom are vastly underestimated. We suggest that in order to enhance adoption, the opportunity is in creating repositories of customizable educational resources instead of bespoke content. To make adoption of VR more ubiquitous, new tools need to be designed to expose the affordances of VR while simplifying implementation such that the task of resource creation becomes less onerous for the educators.

Item Type:
Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings
ID Code:
174588
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
25 Nov 2022 14:20
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
25 Nov 2022 14:20