Virtual Reality Spatial Training: Strike and Dip

Tuesday 1:30pm-2:40pm CC Building Circadian
Share-a-thon Part of Tuesday


Katharine Johanesen, Juniata College
Christopher J Green, Juniata College


Participants will put on VR headsets to try out the software in immersive VR. Participants can also watch a live stream of someone using the VR software, access videos that teach about strike and dip, and practice with a physical compass/clinometer.


This immersive virtual reality (VR) lesson provides scaffolded practice with the spatial concepts necessary for measuring strike and dip with a compass/clinometer such as a Brunton compass. The module begins with tutorial instruction on using the controls in VR, then proceeds to a station focusing on the Water Level Task (WLT): a cognitive test measuring the understanding of horizontal. The station includes liquid-filled vessels the student can manipulate and a randomized quiz of the WLT to test their understanding. After this station, the student is reminded of the compass setup and proper orientations of measurement. Then they are presented with a table that can be tilted and turned: numbers beside the table update to reflect its orientation. The student is asked to use the compass tool to measure the strike and dip of the tilted table and compare their answers to those displayed. When combined with traditional instruction on strike and dip, this activity helps students to break down the task and practice it conceptually without field distractions and with automatic feedback.

Through this activity, students will:
1) Practice the spatial concept of horizontal, 
2) Learn the basics of a compass/clinometer, and 
3) Practice measuring strike and dip.


In various experimental trials, we have trained students on the software prior to their field experience. We believe it is best used in support of (rather than replacing) classroom instruction. While we are still collecting data on the ideal sequence, we suspect that introduction, VR activity, classroom practice, then field practice would be an ideal order to build confidence and skill. We have worked primarily with a college age audience (both geology majors and students taking geology general education courses), though VR is suitable for any students aged 10 and over. The software supports, rather than replaces, classroom and field instruction.

We use the following videos to introduce the concept prior to putting students in VR:

  1. What is strike and dip? 
  2. Introduction to the Brunton compass:
  3. How to measure strike and dip:

Why It Works

This module is part of a larger effort to explore the use of VR as a method of supporting student development of 3-dimensional spatial reasoning skills. Its built-in feedback and randomization of practice examples means that students can use the software for repeated practice to continue development of their skills. Working through these concepts in a simulated environment allows us to remove some distracting information and isolate specific skills.

Are you interested in using this VR training or collaborating on future VR modules? Fill out this brief form to connect with us: