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COMPARING XR AND DIGITAL FLIPPED METHODS TO MEET LEARNING OBJECTIVES - MAIN STUDY 2023

Published on by Krys Bangert

 

Digital learning has become increasingly important over the last decade as students and educators adopt new types of technology to keep up with emerging trends. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated this rate of change in the higher education sector, leading to remote laboratory experiences and video conferencing becoming increasingly normal. In the wake of this transition, the priority is to understand how these technologies can be blended into existing teaching methodologies, in a complementary way, that enhances the student’s pedagogical experience.

The following study compares three digital-based learning simulations to see which has the most beneficial effect on practical student laboratory experiences. Engineering students were allocated a grouping that exposed them to one of three forms of digital “pre-lab” laboratory simulation and their academic performance was assessed following the physical laboratory. The three forms were a 2D photography-based “iLabs” simulation, a web-based “low fidelity” simulator and a Unity immersive Virtual Reality (iVR) lab simulator. All three simulation methods were based on the same empirically derived data that was taken from the same laboratory equipment which the students use in the final part of the study. As a control, another group of students did not receive a pre-lab simulation, just a pre-lab quiz.

This study will build upon existing work carried out in the field of virtual labs, that indicates these experiences can help reinforce student learning outcomes, whilst also unpicking the complex relationship between simulation immersion, fidelity and memory recall in a learning context. In addition, the study also gave an opportunity to perform a detailed cost versus pedagogical impact assessment, as each of these simulations had been designed and built from the ground up by the authors. 

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