University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Teaching Threshold Concepts in Virtual Reality: Exploring the Conceptual Requirements for Systems Design.

Molka-Danielsen, J., Savin-Baden, Maggi, Steed, A., Fominykh, M., Oyekoya, O., Hokstad, L. M. and Prasolova-Førland, E. (2013) Teaching Threshold Concepts in Virtual Reality: Exploring the Conceptual Requirements for Systems Design. In: Norwegian conference for organizations’ use of information technology (NOKOBIT), 18th - 20th November 2013, Stavanger, Norway.


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In a complex world students need to be equipping with a range of capabilities that will enable them to be critical and flexible learners and citizens. The central research objective in this paper is to explore the argument that virtual reality (VR) technologies, collaborative learning approaches and recognition of the values and importance of thresholds to learning are components that can equip students in and for the future. Threshold concepts are specific concepts which are identified as essential in the acquisition of thinking, learning and communication of understanding within a specific subject of learning. Threshold experiences occur when learners identify moments of “learning leaps” which are cognitive transformations or changes in conceptual role for the learner, enabling them to work at higher levels of abstraction and creativity. Virtual reality technology is increasingly applied in education and can be used to test multiple threshold concepts and applied to open problems that allow for low-stress and real-time interactions as well as supporting collaborative groups with rapid interactions. Applications built on VR can engage, immerse, and guide learners in ways not yet undertaken in the education of threshold concepts. Through literature review we explore the definitions of threshold concepts, VR technologies, and the opportunities for teaching threshold concepts using VR technologies. We additionally predict possible limitations of the technologies. Further, we propose a systems design approach as informed by our literature review.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: threshold concepts, virtual world technology, virtual learning environments, learning
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
Depositing User: Maggi Savin-Baden
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2015 15:54
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:06

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