July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Education in the United States (US) has come a long way over the past few decades. More and more learning institutions are combining traditional educational tools with newer technologies such as virtual reality (VR), VR headsets and sensors, and as well as augmented learning spaces as they have been found to have an impact on students. In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, internet-assisted virtual classrooms are often being preferred over traditional teaching – this reduces in-person contact while delivering lessons on time in a safe space. In the construction industry, a complete virtual education is often harder than other sectors, as jobsite tours, physical construction layout drawings, and mechanical and electrical systems cannot be easily experienced without a proper laboratory environment and a jobsite tour. This pilot study involves undergraduate construction management students, equally divided into a control group and an experimental group, to gauge the real value of virtual reality-assisted education compared to more traditional methods. Using data and construction drawings from an ongoing project, we deploy state of the art technology to convert them into a virtual space using Unity, which in turn is viewed by students with the help of Oculus Rift headsets in a controlled environment. They interact with the virtual space in a safe manner and learn the lesson through VR instead of using physical drawings during laboratory classes. On the other hand, a control group is not exposed to VR-assisted learning and simultaneously studies physical layouts on drawing sheets and visits the site for a short tour, much like a standard university lecture in the US. After the respective educational sessions for both groups, data pertaining to the subjects’ understanding of the study materials is collected in two phases using online pre- and post- learning assessments. In this study, we assess the impact of innovative learning environments on student knowledge as compared to traditional methods of instruction. Preliminary findings indicate that the integration of VR-assisted learning practices is comparable to traditional classroom instruction in terms of efficiency and ease of use. It can be anticipated that incorporating more innovative educational instruments and practices in the future will enhance knowledge transfer while even reducing interpersonal contact during a global health crisis. We are optimistic that these VR tools will help to better train young construction professionals before they join the industry.
Sengupta, R., & Sparkling, A. E. (2021, July), Incorporating Virtual Reality in Construction Management Education Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37324
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