Exploring pedagogical foundations of existing virtual reality (VR) educational applications: A content analysis study

The value of virtual reality (VR) is clear as related to learning difficult, tedious, or dangerous tasks (Janssen, Tummel, Richert, & Isenhardt, 2016).  VR educational experiences could provide an interactive learning opportunity that allows learning in an explorative, practice-based, and visually rich environment that allows for more engagement, accelerated learning learning, increased learner attention, lowers overall educational costs, can support challenged learners, works well to bypass language literacy and improves retention. Gaining critical thinking skills is possible with VR educational applications using student centered learning and collaboration. VR learners could increase theoretical understanding through experience, visualize complex models, and immerse in an engaging learning environment (Friena & Mott, 2015; Chang, 2016).  To take fullest advantage of VR, educational leaders need to understand the pedagogical aspects of VR applications to distinguish and support different strategies and optimize learning for students. 

Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT)
Elizabeth Johnston, Gerald Olivas, Patricia Steele, Cassandra Smith, and Liston Bailey
Presentation Date: 
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Event or Conference: 
Conference
Presentation Type: 
Paper Presentation
Boyer's Domain: 
Presentation Attachment(s): 
Presentation Location: 
Jacksonville, FL 32034
United States
Abstract: 
This study used a theoretical model (Kebritchi & Hirumi, 2008) to aid in analyzing visual and text based content and distinguish educational pedagogies in virtual reality (VR) educational applications. A total of 35 VR educational applications met the selection criteria. Educational leaders need to understand the pedagogical aspects of VR applications to distinguish and support different strategies and optimize learning for students. The research question was: What principles and practices of pedagogy are evident but not articulated in selected VR applications for education? An analysis of public content for VR applications for education showed most were experiential while others categorized as discovery learning, constructivism, situated cognition, direct instruction, or unclassified approaches. Research findings will support efforts to use innovative and measurable outcome based learning applications within an educational context. Additionally, creators of VR educational applications will gain an understanding of the need for a clear association between curriculum being taught and pedagogical foundations.