Virtual reality (VR) that immerses users in a 3D environment through use of headwear, body suits, and data gloves has demonstrated effectiveness in technical and professional education. Immersive VR is highly engaging and appealing to technically skilled young Net Generation learners. However, technical difficulty and very high costs have kept immersive VR out of most education institutions and corporate training programs. Now, a new technology is making the learning benefits and competitive advantages of VR possible cost effectively. This new technology, called desktop virtual reality, has recently improved dramatically and can now put high-quality virtual environments on standard desktop and laptop computers. This paper introduces instructional uses of VR, reviews the characteristics and benefits of desktop VR, overviews the hardware and software required to develop and use desktop VR for learning and training, and reviews the theoretical foundations and experimental findings from a research program on this innovative technology currently in progress at Oklahoma State University in the United States.
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Author Name: Lynna J. Ausburn, Floyd B. Ausburn
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Keywords: virtual reality, technology research, instructional design, instructional theory