A brief introduction to Virtual Reality in Online Learning
One of the more intriguing and re-energized forms of training in the corporate and academic industries is the use of simulation-based learning, namely virtual reality. This technology, while newer than many other forms of learning, has now existed long enough in the instructional industry for one of its largest barriers of entry as a potential solution – cost – to become less of a factor for individuals, educational institutions, and companies (Jensen & Konradsen, 2017). While accessibility to VR-based learning has increased, the proper contexts under when they should be applied, as well as its efficacy over more traditional methods, remains mixed, with further research across all learning industries needed (Lu, Hallinger, & Showanasai, 2014, p. 219).
I did some research!
Well, someone’s got to do it and Lu, Hallinger & Showanasai are still waiting for some good examples since 2014 - trust me. That’s because before I created my own virutal reality tour, I did some background investigating. I was less like a detective, and more like a bookworm, and I dove into the Auraria Online Library that is available to me as a UC Denver ILT student. In fact, this entire project was for a class! First, I conducted what is called a “Resource Scan” which was a quick summary of research out there on immersive learning theory and VR generally, and then I got more in depth and specific by doing a “Reading Capture” of 2 research articles supporting the use of VR in a workplace environment, in an effort to learn best practices.
My case study investigated the infrastructure and logistics required for simulation-based learning as an effective learning solution within previously supported areas of teaching for instructors interested in adopting virtual reality as a learning tool. Suggestions on which learning scenarios and techniques to include during VR-based learning development, as well as those to avoid, are also presented. The result of this research led to a virtual reality tour of a business that can be taken using a web browser and mouse for navigation (Google Maps), or a VR headset for an even more immersive experience. Most of the latter half of my research required curating information from the web and to help me keep track of the sources as well as seeing an opportunity to invite others to collaborate, I made a NLS called 360 Media in eLearning. You can read my final paper here.