Personalized Experiential Learning Using Virtual Reality to Enhance Imagination and Emotional Connectivity in Skills-Based Courses

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Inspiring Innovations // Experiential learning is a philosophy and methodology in which educators plan to engage learners purposefully in direct experience and focused reflection to develop skills and knowledge, clarify values, and apply prior learning experiences. In other words, experiential learning is an instructor’s careful arrangement of a specific, interactive learning experience for students where they can develop their understanding and discover new knowledge. In this respect, different learning technologies can be used to ensure that skills-based content achieves the goals and learning outcomes, most of which are competency-based. Virtual reality is one such emerging technology which can enable learners to experience and be immersed in virtual learning environments which takes them out of the “window”. In a virtual learning environment, learners get to manoeuvre learning artifacts and manipulate the perspective plane to their prior learning experiences vis-à-vis the achievement of outcomes stated in the curriculum. This paper aims to provide answers to the research question: Could virtual learning designs enable personalized experiential learning to enhance imagination and emotional connectivity in skills-based courses in the new normal. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many differentiated learning environments have been initiated such as ODL, blended and hybrid learning. In all these new initiatives, learners are still placed within the “4-walled classroom atmosphere” where learning is “confined to small, crowded, and neat spaces”. The researcher has observed that this has led to limited imagination, lack of emotional connection and has demotivated learners, resulting in poor quality products, especially in a skills-based learning environment. These observations are also supported by Latchem (2017) in an edited book ‘Using ICTs and Blended Learning in Transforming TVET’ which states that the common problem of distance learners is having limited contact with educators and their peers. According to Fleming (2021), advanced technology such as VR will ensure immense personal engagement and participation in a 21st century classroom as learning will involve artificially digitized content that resembles real life situations. // Paper ID 9345

Experiential Learning,Open and Distance Learning (ODL),Virtual Reality,Educational Technology,ICT in Education