Volume 2 Number 3 (Jun. 2012)
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IJEEEE 2012 Vol.2(3): 237-241 ISSN: 2010-3654
DOI: 10.7763/IJEEEE.2012.V2.117

Effectiveness of an Alternative Digital Learning Environment for Steel Connection Design Education

Borinara Park

Abstract—The VR is an exact copy of a real learning environment that operates in a 3-D cyber space, which is accessible through the internet connections. This paper describes a project aiming at creating and operating an innovative virtual reality (VR) learning environment to seek answers for the following questions: 1) Are there differences in students’ understanding of construction engineering concepts when taught in a 3D graphical VR simulation environment vs. a traditional classroom environment?; and 2) How do the perceptions of construction students exposed to a 3D graphical VR simulation differ from those students enrolled in a traditional classroom setting? This study utilizes a quasi-experimental research design. Target subjects are enrolled in two sections of the Construction Management computer application course. The experimental or treatment group is comprised of 24 students who participate in a 3Dgraphical VR class on the steel structural design concept. The control group is also comprised of 25 students who participate in a regular class. The VR learning environment is a 3Dgraphical replica of a real steel structure. It provides high lyvisual, immersive, interactive, and sociable learning space. The study shows that the performance of the students in the virtual environment is almost at the same level as the students who learn in a real-life based setting. The students, however, do not perceive the virtual learning environment as effective as the real-life based learning environment although they agree that the new technology have merits to improve their learning.

Index Terms—Steel connection design, hybrid course delivery, alternative learning environment, virtual reality

B. Park is with Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790 USA (e-mail:bpark@ilstu.edu).

Cite: Borinara Park, "Effectiveness of an Alternative Digital Learning Environmentfor Steel Connection Design Education," International Journal of e-Education, e-Business, e-Management and e-Learning vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 237-241, 2012.

General Information

ISSN: 2010-3654 (Online)
Abbreviated Title: Int. J. e-Educ. e-Bus. e-Manag. e-Learn.
Frequency: Quarterly
Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Kuan-Chou Chen
Executive Editor: Ms. Nancy Lau
Abstracting/ Indexing: EBSCO, Google Scholar, Electronic Journals Library, QUALIS, ProQuest, EI (INSPEC, IET)
E-mail: ijeeee@iap.org
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