Can a 360 degrees virtual tour contribute to student comprehension?

Can a 360 degrees virtual tool prove to be an alternative for those students who cannot participate in a field trip?
4TU Delft
4TU Eindhoven
4TU Twente
4TU Wageningen

Can a 360 degrees virtual tour contribute to student comprehension?

It is a familiar problem, a class of 200 students and only 20 of them can participate in a field trip. The others will have to do with photos or schematic visualisations to familiarize themselves with procedures and plant processes. It is clear that this is not an ideal situation for deeper learning. A 360 degrees virtual tool could prove to be an alternative for those students who cannot visit the actual plant because of limited financial and organisational resources. At TU Delft such a tour is now being developed for bachelor students in Civil Engineering. ‘Coming March they will be able to take a 360 degrees virtual tour to a Waste Water Treatment Plant’, says Danielle Ceulemans, educational researcher/designer and 4TU.CEE programme coordinator.

Design decisions

Ceulemans will not only be doing research  into the contribution of the 360 degrees virtual tour to learning outcomes, she is also involved in the actual design of the virtual tour. That proved to be quite a challenge. Ceulemans: ‘We need to make decisions on use of camera, system software and headset and storytelling. This is a complex process since many design decisions have positive as well as negative consequences, an interdisciplinary approach is essential. If the technology is not accepted by students, learning may not be achieved’ says Ceulemans. The cooperation between the project partners: the faculty of CEG, TU Delft New Media Centre and last but not least the Wastewater Plant in Amersfoort, where the images have been shot was very pleasant. Ceulemans: ‘The Wastewater Plant technician allowed us to film everything, which greatly contributed to the thoroughness of the film. The expert knowledge on wastewater treatment processes of professor Merle de Kreuk of the faculty of CEG was essential in bringing focus in the film’.

Usability test

The impact of the design decisions on student comprehension needs to be further researched via design experiments with students. Extensive usability tests are set to take place in February. ‘We will then for example check technology acceptance, whether the film has the right duration, but also assess the risk of cognitive overload and possible discomfort in using VR headsets. This test will help us in fine tuning the virtual tour. Designing such a tour is still a relatively unexplored field of study. This pilot will provide us insight in formulating proper design requirements for a straightforward decision process for future virtual tours that contribute to enhancing student learning’, explains Ceulemans.

Can a 360 degrees virtual tour contribute to student comprehension?

Can a 360 degrees virtual tour contribute to student comprehension?

It is a familiar problem, a class of 200 students and only 20 of them can participate in a field trip. The others will have to do with photos or schematic visualisations to familiarize themselves with procedures and plant processes. It is clear that this is not an ideal situation for deeper learning. A 360 degrees virtual tool could prove to be an alternative for those students who cannot visit the actual plant because of limited financial and organisational resources. At TU Delft such a tour is now being developed for bachelor students in Civil Engineering. ‘Coming March they will be able to take a 360 degrees virtual tour to a Waste Water Treatment Plant’, says Danielle Ceulemans, educational researcher/designer and 4TU.CEE programme coordinator.

Design decisions

Ceulemans will not only be doing research  into the contribution of the 360 degrees virtual tour to learning outcomes, she is also involved in the actual design of the virtual tour. That proved to be quite a challenge. Ceulemans: ‘We need to make decisions on use of camera, system software and headset and storytelling. This is a complex process since many design decisions have positive as well as negative consequences, an interdisciplinary approach is essential. If the technology is not accepted by students, learning may not be achieved’ says Ceulemans. The cooperation between the project partners: the faculty of CEG, TU Delft New Media Centre and last but not least the Wastewater Plant in Amersfoort, where the images have been shot was very pleasant. Ceulemans: ‘The Wastewater Plant technician allowed us to film everything, which greatly contributed to the thoroughness of the film. The expert knowledge on wastewater treatment processes of professor Merle de Kreuk of the faculty of CEG was essential in bringing focus in the film’.

Usability test

The impact of the design decisions on student comprehension needs to be further researched via design experiments with students. Extensive usability tests are set to take place in February. ‘We will then for example check technology acceptance, whether the film has the right duration, but also assess the risk of cognitive overload and possible discomfort in using VR headsets. This test will help us in fine tuning the virtual tour. Designing such a tour is still a relatively unexplored field of study. This pilot will provide us insight in formulating proper design requirements for a straightforward decision process for future virtual tours that contribute to enhancing student learning’, explains Ceulemans.