Evaluating Affective Learning Using VR Field Trips

Wednesday 12:20 PT / 1:20 MT / 2:20 CT / 3:20 ET Online
Oral Session Part of Oral Session I


Derek Turner, Douglas College
Dixon Cohee, Douglas College
Field trips are essential in Earth Science for reinforcing key concepts and for generating enthusiasm for the discipline. Unfortunately, access to these valuable experiential learning opportunities is increasingly limited by cost, lack of resources, liability concerns and student work and family commitments. Open access, virtual reality (VR) field trips that simulate the types of learning experiences students have in the field provide a possible means of overcoming some of these barriers. VR field trips do not attempt to replace traditional field trips, but instead offer more accessible alternatives for students who are not able to participate and bring students to remote locations beyond the reach of most field trips. There has been an increase in the amount of research focusing on the cognitive benefits of using VR technology, but there has been little work exploring the impact different types of VR have on affective learning (e.g. interest, motivation, etc.), despite the important role field trips play in developing a passion for Earth Science.

This presentation attempts to address this gap by: 1) comparing pre- and post-field trip surveys of students at a two-year college who participated in traditional field trips with surveys from similar students who interacted with a VR field trip; and 2) comparing affective learning gains of students taking the field trip using a relatively simple, photosphere-based online or headset/phone interface with those of students taking the same field trip using a more immersive, Vive-based interface. Demographic analysis of these data suggests that there are benefits of using different types of VR technology for certain minority groups that would otherwise face obstacles to interacting with traditional field trips.

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