Virtual Reality Pedagogical Considerations in Learning Environments

Virtual Reality Pedagogical Considerations in Learning Environments

Elizabeth A. Johnston (University of Phoenix, USA), Gerald W. Olivas (University of Phoenix, USA), Patricia Steele (University of Phoenix, USA), Cassandra Smith (University of Phoenix, USA) and Liston W. Bailey (University of Phoenix, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5769-2.ch002
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New virtual reality (VR) educational applications are available in the electronic marketplace almost daily but seldom include pedagogies, materials, recommendations, or insights for adapting or implementing the applications into existing curriculums. Educators need to understand the pedagogical orientations of VR applications to prepare, apply, assess, and evaluate a potentially productive practice that distinguishes and supports different strategies and optimizes student-centered learning. VR educational applications are most frequently built on student-centered models including direct instruction, experiential, discovery, situated cognition, and constructivism pedagogies.
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The Value Of Understanding Pedagogies

A variety of corporations, educational institutions and laboratories are developing VR applications that come into the electronic marketplace on an almost daily basis. Explicit pedagogical statements are rarely available in the new VR educational applications (Fowler, 2015; Mikropoulos & Natsis, 2011). However, national, regional, and local educational leaders and VR developers need a clear understanding of the underlying pedagogy to train personnel, develop contexts, and align the new VR applications with previous teaching and learning methods, (Stefan, Moldoveanu, Gheorghiu, 2016; Kahai et al., 2013; Lovequest et al., 2015; Psotka, 2013). In addition, educators will need to assess and evaluate the new applications (Ludlow, 2015) using comprehensive theoretical support. Clear understanding of the pedagogical foundations of VR applications for education is necessary (Conole, 2004; Fowler, 2015; Kebritchi & Hirumi, 2008; Mikropoulos & Natsis, 2011) to assure that educators can evaluate use and effectiveness (Stefan et al., 2016).

Researching Pedagogical Foundations

A directed content analysis to identify pedagogical foundations of selected VR educational applications (Johnston, Olivas, Steele, Smith, & Bailey, 2017) revealed a pattern of student-centered pedagogies. Kebritchi and Hirumi (2008) developed a theoretical model that indicated qualities of direct instruction, experiential learning, discovery learning, situated cognition, constructivist, and unclassified approaches for analyzing the pedagogies of electronic games. Both texts and visual public content were used in a comparative and deductive process. A series of key words (Appendix A) related to each pedagogical foundation was developed for the initial analysis.

We found that public content such as short videos, demonstrations, reviews, descriptions, or other forms of related content allowed preliminary assessment of VR pedagogical foundations when aided by a theoretical model (Kebritchi & Hirumi, 2008). Public content often included YouTube videos or simulations. Members of the research team compared text based content notes with visual content when available. This process provided an opportunity to bring in secondary forms of evidence as a means to triangulate findings across sources.

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