Using VR to teach safety in design: what and how do engineering students learn?

Melissa Marinelli, Sally Male, Andrew Valentine, Andrew Guzzomi, Tom Van Der Veen, Ghulam Mubashar Hassan

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Access to interactive, simulated work environments through virtual reality (VR) has potential in teaching safety in design (SiD) to engineering students with reduced risk, cost and inconvenience. However, there is limited understanding of what students learn from immersive VR interventions, or the outcomes from specific learning activities. This study investigated engineering students’ SiD learning in engineering design units at an Australian university. Informed by blended cognitivist-constructivist and situative perspectives, the units embedded static visualisation, dynamic visualisation through VR simulation, and group discussion, within an authentic hazard identification and analysis process. Observational data and student performances were analysed. Students’ hazard comprehension differed by type of hazard and by learning activity. Students demonstrated understanding of SiD processes, terminology, and relevance of these to engineering design. We conclude that VR simulation is an effective learning tool, however the combination of learning elements was important to achieve learning outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Feb 2023

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