VIRTUAL REALITY AND PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING IN STEM

Lawrence O. Flowers

Abstract


In the last decade, virtual reality (VR) has seen dramatic advances that have allowed
VR technology to become integrated in business, education, and homes around the world. Immersive virtual reality (IVR) employs headsets and computer software to create an artificial environment containing three-dimensional images in which the user perceives full immersion. Individual virtual reality accessory devices allow the user to interact with the computer-generated environment and manipulate objects within the virtual setting. Immersive virtual reality is a mainstay in the gaming industry, with many new virtual reality games being released each month on multiple gaming systems. Gradually, the education research literature is accumulating evidence on the positive effects of the use of virtual reality technologies in educational settings with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and special education leading the way. Widespread usage of virtual reality in STEM must involve the development of readily accessible virtual reality subject-specific software and clear pedagogical plans and measurement systems designed to ensure fulfillment of virtual reality-based objectives (VROs) in the laboratory and classroom. A fusion of inquiry-focused learning strategies such as problem-based learning and virtual reality modules will improve virtual reality usage and student outcomes. Exploration of problem-based learning, potential uses, and limitations of virtual reality technology as well as the health hazards associated with integrating immersive virtual reality in STEM courses will be highlighted. The references provide a poignant starting point for interested educational researchers and STEM faculty.

Keywords


virtual reality, pedagogy, problem-based learning, undergraduate, STEM

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References


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