University of Library Studies and Information Technologies (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN21 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 3926-3933
ISBN: 978-84-09-31267-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2021.0832
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Introduction: The virtual present implies a wide application of technological solutions in various aspects - in terms of education, science, culture and economy. The learning process, whether formal or informal, aims to actively build knowledge through certain learning activities, sometimes supported by technology. An important condition for successful learning is the motivation of students, and it can be stimulated and maintained through professional and understandable educational multimedia content - audio-visual (educational scientific or documentary films), visual (a variety of illustrative material, diagrams, infographics, photographic images), virtual reality (special projects, reconstructing real or unreal places and objects).

Presentation: The present study was prepared in connection with the objectives of a research project on the topic: "Application of mixed reality in the teaching and promotion of cultural and historical heritage in the university information environment." First, the essence of visual literacy and the competencies that are built as a result of such training are analyzed; secondly, the focus is on clarifying the link between visual literacy and cultural tourism education; thirdly, the symbiosis between visual literacy, virtual reality and their role and significance for students studying specialties related to cultural tourism is analyzed.

The aim of the current study is to examine the benefits of one of the latest technological developments, Virtual Reality applications (VR applications), in the context of cultural tourism education and to find out the correlation between these two concepts with the visual literacy of the students in this educational field.
Results: As a result of the study, it was concluded that due to the global pandemic COVID-19 there are prerequisites for the development of additional skills and competencies of students studying specialties related to tourism and cultural heritage. The benefits of visual literacy and virtual reality training were discussed, and in conclusion it was concluded that visual literacy training of future specialists in cultural heritage and tourism is an opportunity for interactive experience and access to knowledge.

Conclusion: It is foreseen that virtual reality technologies will lead to revolutionary changes in the tourism industry. Benefits of the current VR applications for cultural tourism education and the importance of visual literacy were shortly summarized. It can be concluded that virtual reality applications as part of visual literacy will have an important role in future cultural tourism education developments.
Visual literacy, virtual reality, VR applications, cultural tourism, training, education.