Student Perceptions and the Future of VR in Online Education

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Virtual Reality provides an opportunity for engaging and immersive learning experiences for students in higher education. While much of its development for educational purposes has been in settings with direct contact with students, like classrooms and labs, this session will explore the pedagogical value in an online learning context.


Linas holds a masters degree and 10 years of experience as Instructional Designer. He has previous research and publishing experience both as a student in the M.Ed graduate program and as a working professional on topics ranging from cloud computing to mobile learning, wearables and immersive learning.
Chris has 20 years of experience in the fields of educational technology and online learning. He is currently the Director of Learning Design for Penn State's World Campus, an organization that has been at the forefront of online learning for over 20 years. Chris was previous assistant director for Education Technology Services at Penn State, where he created the Penn State Media Commons. He also co-lead the creation of the IMS Caliper learning analytics standard. Chris oversees the design and development of online courses for a portfolio of over 45 academic programs and 500 courses. He provides leadership around university policies and organizational processes related to online learning and educational technology, with interests in areas such as learning analytics, virtual and augmented reality, interactive media, process improvement and change management, agile project management, and developing passionate and engaged teams.
Joe holds a masters degree in Instructional Design and Technology and bachelor's degree in Education. After teaching in K-12 for almost 10 years, he has been an instructional designer, with research and publishing experience, at Penn State (World Campus then Altoona) since 2010.

Extended Abstract

This session will talk about the methods instructional designers at Penn State used to vet, create, and integrate immersive 360 videos, as well as the research findings regarding student perception of their value toward the learning experience. Particular focus was on the method where students interacted with the videos using a VR headset, and its impact on their understanding of concepts. Given the requirements of online course development, special consideration was given to the financial and timeline implications as well as creating learning objects that all students can access and experience.   

In this session, you will learn:

  • The pedagogical considerations and logistical challenges for integrating immersive 360/VR content in online course design
  • The preliminary perceptions about immersive 360/VR content from online students
  • Recommendations for next steps on how to progress towards true VR or delivery of immersive content based on the evaluation of 360 video pilots.
  • Tools researched and tested, such as WondaVR, Captivate (2019), WebVR, A-Frame.