Potential of VR in the vocational education and training of craftsmen
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Virtual Reality (VR) will lead to a significant change in the way we teach and learn. VR is characterized by immersion, sensory feedback and interactivity. A recent meta-analysis showed that the use of VR (in a broader sense) in primary, secondary and higher education increases learning success, especially with short learning contents. However, some research found adverse effects of VR on students compared to a classical teaching condition. Generally, studies considering high-immersion VR environments such as those present when wearing VR glasses are relatively scarce.
For the area of vocational education and training of craftsmen, there is hardly any knowledge on when and how VR can be used and how it is accepted at German vocational schools although the potential for VR technologies in these learning areas is great. Because the focus of vocational training of craftsmen is on transfer of action- oriented knowledge, VR can particularly support the education with its immersive interaction possibilities, especially in terms of action-oriented content.
In order to analyse the catalysts and barriers in the development and implementation of VR technologies in the educational process, we conducted a design-based research approach with several design loops. We used a mixed- method approach and included qualitative interviews, standardized cognitive tests, standardized questionnaires measuring demands, acceptance and self-efficacy, performance measurement, and assessment of usability of VR prototypes. A total of 55 craftsmen and prospective craftsmen (including 3 teachers) participated in three design loops until now. The results suggested to embed the VR environment into a blended learning context of a vocational training institution for construction workers (KomZet A&F) and the following adapted VR functionalities were implemented: an integrated multiple-choice questionnaire, a gaming approach and a sophisticated evaluation functionality with playback options and questionnaire result analysis.