Virtual Technologies & Learning Research Group
“Virtual Technologies” (VT) is an inclusive phrase for many types of information systems and communications technologies, that can include support for virtual reality environments (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences. In VR applications artificial environments are presented to users through VT in such a way as to allow the user to accept the environments as real (to some degree). AR differs from VR, in that it does not create an artificial environment, but rather overlays new digital information over an existing environment.
In the learning domain, when VT are applied they can offer the participant some “added value” through access to other participants or through affording better use of learning products or services, information and processes. VT can support 2D or 3D applications and services and may range from standalone tools, applications and services; to integrated learning platforms, sometimes called Virtual Learning Environments (VLE).
Historically, VT was intended to be applied to distance education, for example for students who are not physically present on campus. However, research on the design and assessment of VT increasingly show that VT can support and enhance learning processes regardless of the participants being co-present or remote. Applications of VT in the learning process include:
• Definition of learning tasks and modules
• Communication and collaboration between learners and between teachers and learners
• Cognitive and affective assessment of learners and teachers
• Simulations of physical world objects or relationships (e.g. buildings, floor plans, business processes, roles, personal identities, etc.)
• Innovations and design of new objects or relationships (e.g. same as above)
• This research group explores a variety of VT and its impacts in the Learning process.