Research Papers

Document Type

Conference Paper


Digital learning has become increasingly important over the last decade as students and educators adopt new types of technology to keep up with emerging trends. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated this rate of change in the higher education sector, leading to remote laboratory experiences and video conferencing becoming increasingly normal. In the wake of this transition, the priority is to understand how these technologies can be blended into existing teaching methodologies, in a complementary way, that enhances the student’s pedagogical experience. The upcoming study will compare three digital-based learning simulations to see which has the most beneficial effect on practical student laboratory experiences. Engineering students will be exposed to one of three forms of digital “pre-lab” laboratory simulation and their academic performance assessed following a physical laboratory. The three forms are a 2D photography “iLabs” simulation, a web-based “low fidelity” simulator and a Unity based immersive Virtual Reality (iVR) lab simulator. All three methods are based on the same empirically derived data. As a control, another group of students will not receive a pre-lab simulation, just a standard pre-lab quiz. The study methods will be tested in a small scale preliminary study with a smaller cohort of students ahead of the main work to optimize the experience. This research will build upon existing work carried out in the field of virtual labs, that indicates these experiences can help reinforce student learning outcomes, whilst also unpicking the complex relationship between simulation immersion, fidelity and memory recall in a learning context. In addition, the study will give an opportunity to perform a detailed cost versus pedagogical impact assessment, as each of these simulations has been designed and built from the ground up by the authors.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.