In the 2010's, immersive virtual reality (IVR) learning environments gained popularity among the educators and researchers, as the VR technology became more affordable and attainable. In the beginning of the 2020's, however, it seems that the development of learning theory and pedagogy for immersive VR learning has not kept up with the technological advances. We are addressing this issue by conducting empirical research on the pedagogy and learning transfer in immersive VR training in a design-based research project.
In the study, we are carrying out research in the context of occupational safety training in an immersive virtual reality learning environment developed at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. We apply social constructive and sociocultural learning theoretical frameworks to develop a theoretically grounded and empirically tested pedagogical model for IVR safety training.
During the 2-year research, the pedagogical model will be developed in collaboration with the participants and other stakeholders according to the principles of design-based research. In addition to making a contribution to the empirical study of immersive VR learning environments, the results are expected to benefit training and education provides and to improve the occupational safety training practices in work organizations across industrial sectors.
The research questions are: 1) What kind of pedagogical model and
method support the acquisition of skills and learning content in
immersive VR occupational safety training?; 2) How should a training
scenario in the immersive VR environment be planned and carried out for
effective learning?; and 3) How does the safety content
learned in immersive VR transfer to working life practices?