Roskilde University's Centre for Virtual Learning Technologies is exploring and researching the use of virtual learning technologies, in particular Virtual Reality and 3D interactive simulations in higher education teaching of natural science.
The Centre for Virtual Learning Technologies focuses on activities in three intersecting tracks:
- Track 1: Virtual Learning Technologies in Science Education
- Track 2: A Two-Fold Approach to Investigate the Impacts of VR in Science Education
- Track 3: Collaboration and knowledge sharing
The tracks are described in more detail below.
Track 1: Virtual Learning Technologies in Science Education
The Bachelor of Natural Science based at the Department of Science and Environment at RUC wants to meet the students with a high quality, engaging and modern learning environment supported by VLT. VLT are digital technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching and assessment. Initially VLT will be implemented across the existing courses and in RUCs model for Problem-oriented Project Learning (PPL) with a focus on how the interventions benefit students’ learning. The results from the initial phase will ultimately feed into the design of a new subject module in the bachelor programme: Bioprocess Science. In addition to the integration of VLT in the practice of learning and teaching track 1 will also strengthen the students’ IT competences. Society of today and the future is becoming increasingly focused on how digital technologies can be used in meaningful and valuable ways and consequently there is a growing demand from future employers for graduates with the strengthened IT competences. Finally, the use of VLT and the strengthened IT competences will be aligned with the student recruitment activities in order to actively recruit more students to the Bachelor of Natural Science.
In summary the aims of track 1 are:
- Enhance the quality of the teaching at the Bachelor of Natural Science by integrating VLT in the courses and PPL
- Design a new subject module in Bioprocess Science that is supported på VLT
- Strengthen the students’ IT competences
The research project involves a two-fold approach to understanding the impact of immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) in science education.
Track 2: A Two-Fold Approach to Investigate the Impacts of VR in Science Education
In the first fold, we aim to devise and test pedagogical approach(es) that integrate 3D as well as VR simulations developed by Labster into the RUC’s undergraduate Biotechnology curriculum. Testing of the integrated pedagogical approach(es) will be conducted in the form of a year-long longitudinal study.
In the second fold, we plan to conduct a design-based research (DBR) study which will involve in-house design, development and testing of VR-environments to promote embodied learning of undergraduate science concepts. The design and testing of these VR environments will be inspired by contemporary perspectives and principles in extended, embodied and situated cognition; thus, primarily focussing on the learning-design principle of interactivity.
Track 3: Collaboration and knowledge sharing
The centre has taken the initiative to establish a network across the Danish universities with a focus on VR as a learning technology. The network currently comprises of members from: University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, University of Southern Denmark, Aalborg University, Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen Business School and Roskilde University.
The Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science has awarded Roskilde University (RUC) a DKK 20 million extraordinary grant for the project: Virtual Learning Technologies in Science Education. The project is aiming at broad integration of virtual learning technologie (VLT) in science education and with a specific focus on researching the benefits of simulations and Virtual Reality (VR). With the grant, RUC is implementing, developing and researching VR- and 3D-simulations at the Bachelor in Natural Sciences programme within a timeframe expanding from 2018 to 2021.