VR has received increased attention as an educational tool and many argue it is destined to influence educational practices, especially with the emergence of the Metaverse. Most prior research on educational VR reports on applications or systems designed for specified educational or training objectives. However, it is also crucial to understand current practices and attitudes across disciplines, having a holistic view to extend the body of knowledge in terms of VR adoption in an authentic setting. Taking a higher-level perception of people in different roles, we conducted a qualitative analysis based on 23 interviews with major stakeholders and a series of participatory design workshops with instructors and students. We identified the stakeholders who need to be considered for using VR in higher education, and highlighted the challenges and opportunities critical for VR current and potential practices in the university classroom. Finally, we discussed the design implications based on our findings. This study contributes a detailed description of current perceptions and considerations from a multi-stakeholder perspective, providing new empirical insights for designing novel VR and HCI technologies in higher education.
Despite the digital revolution, physical space remains the site for teaching and learning embodied knowledge and skills. Both teachers and students must develop spatial competencies to effectively use classroom spaces, enabling fluid verbal and non-verbal interaction. While video permits rich activity capture, it provides no support for quickly seeing activity patterns that can assist learning. In contrast, position tracking systems permit the automated modelling of spatial behaviour, opening new possibilities for feedback. This paper introduces the design rationale for "Dandelion Diagrams" that integrate participant location, trajectory and body orientation over a variable period. Applied in two authentic teaching contexts (a science laboratory, and a nursing simulation) we show how heatmaps showing only teacher/student location led to misinterpretations that were resolved by overlaying Dandelion Diagrams. Teachers also identified a variety of ways they could aid professional development. We conclude Dandelion Diagrams assisted sensemaking, but discuss the ethical risks of over-interpretation.
Mannequin-based simulations are widely used to train novice nurses. However, current mannequins have no dynamic facial expressions, which decreases the mannequins' fidelity and impacts students' learning outcomes and experience. This study proposes a projection-based AR system for overlaying dynamic facial expressions on a mannequin and implements the system in a stroke simulation. Thirty-six undergraduate nursing students participated in the study and were equally divided into the control (without the system) and experimental group (with the system). The participants' gaze behavior, simulation performance, and subjective evaluation were measured. Results illustrated that the participants focused more on the face-animated mannequin than the traditional mannequin during the simulation. Nursing experts believed that the face-animated mannequin increased the participants' performance in recognizing deviations but decreased their performance in seeking additional information. Moreover, the participants reported that the face-animated mannequin was more interactive and helpful for performing appropriate assessments than the traditional mannequin.
The US manufacturing industry is currently facing a welding workforce shortage which is largely due to inadequacy of widespread welding training. To address this challenge, we present a Virtual Reality (VR)-based training system aimed at transforming state-of-the-art-welding simulations and in-person instruction into a widely accessible and engaging platform. We applied backward design principles to design a low-cost welding simulator in the form of modularized units through active consulting with welding training experts. Using a minimum viable prototype, we conducted a user study with 24 novices to test the system’s usability. Our findings show (1) greater effectiveness of the system in transferring skills to real-world environments as compared to accessible video-based alternatives and, (2) the visuo-haptic guidance during virtual welding enhances performance and provides a realistic learning experience to users. Using the solution, we expect inexperienced users to achieve competencies faster and be better prepared to enter actual work environments.
Meditation has become a popular option to manage stress. Though studies examine technologies to assist in meditation, few explore how technology supports development of such skills for independent practice. From a two-phase mixed-methods study, we contribute learner-centered insights from 36 participants in a virtual reality environment designed to teach meditation skills to novices. In Phase I, we gathered affective and behavioral learner needs from 21 meditation novices, experts, and instructors to synthesize insights for learning. We then designed ZenVR: an interactive system to deliver an eight-lesson meditation curriculum to support learners' progress. In Phase II, we conducted a 6-week longitudinal lab-based evaluation with 15 novice meditation learners. We found statistically significant improvements in mindfulness and self-reported meditation ability. Their insights from a self-managed practice, two weeks after the study ended, offered opportunities to understand how technology can be designed to offer progressive support without creating dependence in technology-mediated meditation practice.