EXPERIENCES WITH THE USE OF VIRTUAL REALITY ENVIRONMENTS IN EDUCATION – IDENTIFYING DIFFICULTIES AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS DURING THESIS WORK
1 University of Debrecen, Faculty of Informatics (HUNGARY)
2 University of Oradea, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology (ROMANIA)
3 University of Debrecen, Department of Social Geography and Regional Development (HUNGARY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:In recent years, virtual reality (VR) has been introduced as a special part of education at the Faculty of Informatics, University of Debrecen, Hungary. It is also used as a purpose and tool for learning: We launched VR courses and created immersive VR environments to provide curricula for our students. Based on VR courses and available curricula, students can choose thesis topics in this field at the end of their BSc studies. During the thesis work, they have to design and create a thematic environment with an immersive VR software: the MaxWhere 3D platform. Students come to the thesis work with different prior VR experiences: Most of them encountered VR in a learning environment, i.e., they had university courses on VR or had and used curriculum in a VR environment. However, there are those who come to the thesis work without learning about VR, learned from games only about VR. Our assumption was that students in the 21st-century generation have a sense of “VR thinking” so they can seamlessly switch between the real and virtual 3D worlds. Experience has shown that this operation is not trivial for all of them. To determine the range of difficulties in thinking in VR and to explore the causes of the problems, we used the method of a personal interview survey among students. The survey found that students who did not encounter VR in an educational setting were much less able to think creatively in VR. The level of creative thinking in VR was also lower for those who had already played VR games anyway. To develop creativity in thinking about VR, we presented key information on the thesis work in a VR environment to students who plan to work in VR. Experience to date has shown positive effects in developing creative VR thinking. In this paper, we present our experiences concerning the students’ thesis work on the use of VR as a framework, as well as the results of the survey.
Keywords: Virtual reality, VR, virtual reality in education, university education, education, MaxWhere, thesis work.