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  • Victoria Hekking

Student Perceptions of Virtual Reality in Higher Education

Meet Tebogo.


Tebogo joined the team at Construct this year as a Learning Technologist. In his recent studies at the University of Western Cape, Tebogo had the opportunity to conduct research on the student perceptions of virtual reality in higher education.


He has earned a Bachelor's of Commerce Degree in Computer and Information Sciences & Support Services and a Master of Commerce Degree from the University of the Western Cape (Universiteit van Wes-Kaapland). Tebogo has 2+ years of experience in web development in addition to experience in learning technology and is proficient in both the English and Setswana languages.


Here are some of the highlights from his research findings:


Abstract

"Continuous advancements in technology provide an opportunity for higher educational institutions to enhance the electronic learning experiences of students. Following a review of literature, this research explored student perceptions on the possible uses of virtual reality in their universities, as a way of easing their access to learning material. The research was conducted with the aim of answering the question of how virtual reality can be used to enhance learning, for higher learning institutions. Using a mixed-method research method, online surveys were distributed to registered university students in South Africa, using a simple random sampling strategy, to obtain a diverse and non-biased data set. The quantitative and qualitative responses were analyzed separately, before being triangulated, and used to inform the discussion and conclusion. Ultimately, the research found that although there are various benefits associated with the introduction of Virtual Reality - in South African Higher Education Institutions - the diverse population of participating students, and the varying differences in their socioeconomic statuses, would result in the inequitable distribution and usage of its resultant advantages."


Findings on Student Expectations of VR / Augmented Higher Education Systems

"Regarding students’ perceptions on the advantages of integrating VR within Higher education, as reflected in Figure [1] below, the study found that while 22% of the respondents were unable to find any advantages of VR in their education, 20% of the students stated that it would afford them the opportunity of practical experience, as opposed to relying solely on the theory they are taught. A further 19% identified a possible increase in their learning and knowledge retention process, with 15% perceiving this innovation as one that will increase interaction between students, as well as lecturers. 10% of the students believe that the ability to access and better interact with course content, when not on the university campus will be the greatest advantage of implementing VR. Additionally, the remaining 16% of respondents highlight an increased interaction with course content as the main advantage associated with a VR-augmented Higher Education system."

Figure 1. Student's Perceived Advantages of Virtual Reality in Higher Education.

"In terms of the different ways that students believe the implementation of VR can be made inclusive, the following findings were recorded. In Figure [2], 22% of students believe that slowly integrating the technology into their curriculum, would be the best way to influence equitable use of the technology. However, while a fifth of the respondents highlight the necessity of educating students on the effective use of VR in higher education, a quarter of the respondents felt that the best way to promote equitable access to the technology is through the building and provision of VR-dedicated labs (and infrastructure), on their campus."

Figure 2. Student Suggestions on How to Make VR Implementation Inclusive to All Students

If you are interested in reading Tebogo's full research paper or want a more in-depth explanation of his findings you can find a link to the PDF document here.


What are your thoughts on the integration of virtual reality / augmented reality in higher education programs? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter (@construct_edu), Facebook (@constructedu), and LinkedIn (@construct).

Victoria Hekking

Marketing Specialist


Research & Findings:

Tebogo Matome

Learning Technologist