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The potential of immersive virtual reality for representations in design education

Abstract

This paper examines the potential of immersive virtual reality technology for design education. A quasi-experimental study has been conducted with 40 students of different expertise levels. The students analysed a design representation using one of the two visualisation technologies: immersive virtual reality (IVR) and non-immersive virtual reality (nIVR). The results show that the expertise in the used technology and the expertise in the design domain significantly affect design understanding. On the other hand, the effect of contextual expertise was not found significant. Spatial ability affected design understanding in nIVR but not in the IVR. Visualisation technology did not have an overall effect on understanding, but IVR helped students with lower expertise to understand specific aspects of a design better (e.g. rotation-based mechanisms). The study suggests that researchers and educators control the students’ expertise when assessing the effect of technology on design education. Overall, the results support the constructivist learning theory, as IVR can support context-dependent and context-independent understanding.

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Data are available upon request.

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Code for analysis is available upon request.

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Acknowledgements

This paper reports on work funded by the Croatian Science Foundation project IP-2018-01-7269: Team Adaptability for Innovation-Oriented Product Development—TAIDE (http://www.taide.org) and Erasmus+ project 2018-1-HR01-KA203-047486: ELPID – E-learning Platform for Innovative Product Development (http://www.elpid.org/). The authors would like to thank the students for the participation in the experiment.

Funding

Croatian Science Foundation project IP-2018–01-7269: Team Adaptability for Innovation-Oriented Product Development – TAIDE. Erasmus + project 2018–1-HR01-KA203-047486: ELPID – E-learning Platform for Innovative Product Development.

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Correspondence to Nikola Horvat.

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Ethical approval was obtained for the Croatian Science Foundation project IP-2018–01-7269.

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Horvat, N., Martinec, T., Lukačević, F. et al. The potential of immersive virtual reality for representations in design education. Virtual Reality (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-022-00630-w

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-022-00630-w

Keywords

  • Immersive virtual reality
  • Design education
  • Students’ expertise
  • Constructivist learning theory
  • Design understanding
  • Visualisation technology
  • Design representation