Perceptions of undergraduate students toward the use and application of virtual reality technologies in the classroom

Amy Caryn Warneka, Purdue University

Abstract

Virtual communities and organizations must have members, and leaders, who are trained and prepared to develop informed and creative solutions to globally complex problems. Some previous studies have shown the online virtual world (VW) application known as Second Life (SL) can be engaged as an effective virtual media toward team performance for students while removing the hindrances of lost nuances inherent of other communication technology. It is believed that by engaging students in an immersive three-dimensional (3-D) socialized environment to enhance the educational practice for learners coming out of the digital age, the learning capability of the students will be enriched and supplemented by a more interactive atmosphere. This study analyzes the perceptions of two undergraduate classes toward the introduction and use of virtual media in a large, lecture-formatted classroom environment. As an attempt to provide feedback, without trying to prove or disprove any educational theories, this study hoped to show that virtual media can successfully be employed to supplement the educational experience, enhance class work and learning strategies for the students, and create team/group associations that work efficiently and effectively when students were challenged with real life situations in a virtual environment. Instead, this study found student's generally detested the use of the technology, had a perceived lack of appreciation for the technological advancements in the classroom, and felt forced into participating in the assimilation of the technology or group collaborations whether required of the assignment or not. Perceptually, this study shows it made no difference whether students had any previous experiences with VWs, what their class designation was (freshman, sophomore, etc.), if they were male or female, or their involvement with the VW platform, particularly if they had experience with other VW systems or interactive game settings.^

Degree

M.S.

Advisors

Michael M. Beyerlein, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Education, Pedagogy|Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Higher

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