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Ten Steps To Developing Virtual Reality Applications For Engineering Education

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.402.1 - 2.402.10



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John T. Bell

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H. Scott Fogler

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Session 3213

Ten Steps to Developing Virtual Reality Applications for Engineering Education

John T. Bell, H. Scott Fogler Department of Chemical Engineering University of Michigan

Introduction Work has been conducted in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan for several years to develop a series of virtual reality ( VR ) based computer modules for use in undergraduate engineering education. The goals of this work have been threefold: 1. To produce modules with as much practical use to as many students as possible. 2. To determine the optimal applicability of virtual reality to engineering education. 3. To develop a knowledge base of techniques for the display of, and interaction with, scientific and technological information and concepts in a virtual world, that can later be applied to practical engineering problems This paper outlines our findings to date regarding the second goal, which encompasses not only how to produce effective VR applications, but also the identification of which students and topics will most benefit from VR, and how best to incorporate educational VR into the engineering curriculum. The modules themselves ( Vicher1, Vicher2, and Safety ) have been described in [ 1-6 ] previous papers .


Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives In the early 1950's Benjamin Bloom[ 7 ], in conjunction with other educators, developed a taxonomy of educational objectives ranging from simple memorization to complex evaluation, as outlined in Figure 1. Traditional teaching and testing methods tend to stress primarily the three lowest levels of Bloom's taxonomy -- knowledge, comprehension, and application. These levels are easy to teach, comprehend, and evaluate, because problems based upon these levels tend to have a specific concrete answer that is either right or wrong. The problem with the lower levels of Bloom's taxonomy is that although they are useful for teaching students how to solve classic traditional problems, our students still have difficulties applying their engineering education to the practical problems they encounter in industry. Many students can "solve" the homework without being able to explain what it means in terms of real-world phenomena. The higher levels of Bloom's taxonomy begin with analysis and include synthesis and evaluation. Bloom ranked evaluation as the highest level in his taxonomy on the grounds that a thorough evaluation requires the use of all five of the lower levels. These upper levels are more difficult to teach and evaluate than the lower levels, and as a result are not implemented as extensively in

Bell, J. T., & Fogler, H. S. (1997, June), Ten Steps To Developing Virtual Reality Applications For Engineering Education Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6831

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