Application of gamified virtual laboratories as a preparation tool for civil engineering students

Faridaddin Vahdatikhaki*, Ilona Friso-van den Bos, Sajad Mowlaei, Bas Kollöffel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Practical laboratory sessions are essential for engineering education, demanding efficient use of limited time. In recent years, Virtual Reality (VR) technologies have introduced Virtual Laboratories (VLs), offering the potential to enhance students’ educational experience. Despite their potential, VLs are rarely utilised in civil engineering education. This research investigates the effectiveness of a gamified VL designed to simulate a concrete laboratory, aimed at better preparing students for experiments. A quasi-experimental study divided 92 students into control and experimental groups using cluster sampling. The control group received traditional lab training, while the experimental group engaged with the VL training environment. The results demonstrate that students using the VL spent significantly less time in the physical lab, exhibited improved competence in navigating lab setups, posed fewer questions about experimental procedures, and required less assistance from lab assistants. Notably, VL users spent 16% less time in the physical lab and needed fewer interventions from lab assistants. This study highlights the potential of VLs as potent tools for preparing engineering students for traditional lab sessions. Post-experiment surveys revealed a strong willingness among students in the experimental group to use VLs in future similar lab sessions, emphasising the positive impact of integrating VLs into engineering education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-191
Number of pages28
JournalEuropean journal of engineering education
Volume49
Issue number1
Early online date29 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • engineering education
  • training tool
  • virtual education
  • Virtual reality
  • UT-Hybrid-D

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