Virtual Reality Interactive Learning Environment

Nadim, Wafaa, Alshawi, Mustafa, Goulding, Jack Steven, Petridis, Petridis and Sharp, Mark (2009) Virtual Reality Interactive Learning Environment. In: Open Building Manufacturing: Key Technologies, Applications, and Industrial Cases. ManuBuild. ISBN 9789513871468

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Open Building Manufacturing (ManuBuild) aims to promote the European construction industry beyond the state of the art. However, this requires the different stakeholders to be well informed of what ‘Open Building Manufacturing’ actually entails with respect to understanding the underlying concepts, benefits and risks. This is further challenged by the ‘traditional ways of learning’ which have been predominantly criticised for being entrenched in theories with little or no emphasis on practical issues.
Experiential learning has long been suggested to overcome the problems associated with the traditional ways of learning. In this respect, it has the dual benefit of appealing to adult learner's experience base, as well as increasing the likelihood of performance change through training. On-the-job-training (OJT) is usually sought to enable ‘experiential’ learning; and it is argued to be particularly effective in complex tasks, where a great deal of independence is granted to the task performer. However, OJT has been criticised for being expensive, limited, and devoid of the actual training context. Consequently, in order to address the problems encountered with OJT, virtual reality (VR) solutions have been proposed to provide a risk free environment for learning without the ‘do-or-die’
consequences often faced on real construction projects.
Since ManuBuild aims to promote the EU construction industry beyond the state of the art; training and education therefore needs also to go beyond the state of the art in order to meet future industry needs and expectations. Hence, a VR interactive learning environment was suggested for Open Building Manufacturing training to allow experiential learning to take place in a risk free environment, and consequently overcome the problems associated with OJT. This chapter discusses the development, testing, and validation of this prototype.

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