Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Industrial Engineering

Major Professor

Rupy Sawhney

Committee Members

James Simonton, Hamparsum Bozdogan, Eric R. Wade

Abstract

Virtual reality (VR) is a trending technology used in a broad range of fields including education and has become one of the most promising directions for educators. In this research, the investigation focuses on how the semi-immersive VR application can be used for educational purposes by exploring the VR factors and the interactions between these factors. A theoretical learning framework is also proposed to offer an explanation for the beneficial effects of education brought by VR at a high level.

This research consists of three parts. First, this research will introduce the development of Walk-in-Place Learning System (WIPLS), a semi-immersive VR system that is highly customizable and can be modified into different sub-VR systems that enable the tuning of various VR factors. Second, it will present the survey instrument obtained from previous literature related to educational VR systems. Two individual pilot studies will be conducted: 1) to verify the performance of the WIPLS, and 2) to validate the internal consistency of the survey instrument. Third, an empirical study will be conducted on a sample population to answer the research question, and to analyze the statistical results to validate the research model. Based on these statistical results, this research will propose conclusions and insights in how VR factors, as well as interactions, are affecting the learning outcome in an educational VR system, and provide guidance and suggestions for VR practitioners to design the development of VR systems.

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