Rethinking the Virtual Reality Field Trips: Pedagogical Strategies for Classroom Instruction

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Bridging the XR Technology-to-Practice-Gap


This chapter explores the use of virtual reality (VR) for removing barriers of space and time to immerse students in virtual learning environments (VLE) and transport them to locations covered in classes using active learning strategies. While VR research has traditionally been restricted to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, the ability to bring learners into locations far flung from the classroom makes the technology ideal for the teaching of art and history. Unfortunately, excursions to museums, virtual field trips, and study abroad remain accessible largely only to affluent students and/or those living in metropolitan areas. VR has the potential to support other student populations who may be rural or low-income thus providing greater equity, inclusivity, and access to overcome the socioeconomic restrictions underrepresented students face in their development of global citizenship. In order to facilitate the effective use and adoption of VR, the results of multiple case studies using a concurrent triangulation design are presented which outline the pedagogical strategies that may be adopted in a number of areas. Specifically, Active Learning may be used, supported by deliberate scaffolding of immersive learning experiences, resulting in desired learning outcomes through careful consideration of learning taxonomies. Recommendations include selecting VR experiences and activities with learning outcomes in mind and scaffolding experiences through sequential learning activities. Other considerations will include aligning the type of experience with the requisite number of learners, manner and degree of instructor presence, and the appropriate degree of interactivity needed. While the examples provided in this chapter are derived from introductory surveys of art history in postsecondary education, they are applicable to all instructional levels and fields of study.

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