Rui’s Ph.D study investigates how emerging virtual reality technologies impact the way people experience the world in a learning context. The work takes a broad perspective, bridging experiential learning theory, task complexity in educational objectives, a range of emerging virtual reality technologies and related issues such as presence and immersion and how all of these factors act in concert to influence learning styles. The principal aim of the research is to determine whether and under what conditions emerging virtual reality technologies prescribe how architecture and building students choose to learn.
The results have significant implications for both theoretical and practical perspectives. From a theoretical perspective, the results reveal fundamental flaws in current learning style theory and how learning styles have been previously assigned to different learning cohorts. The results also strongly demonstrate that learning, considered in the current terms of learning styles, is not constrained or inhibited in any way by the increasing use of virtual reality technologies. The proposition that computers limit the learning experience is not valid in the context of this study.
From a practical standpoint, the educational challenge is not to design a learning environment that reflects the specificity of a particular cohort, but rather how best to accommodate the variability that occurs across and within individual preferences.
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