Virtual reality training of presentation skills: how real does it feel? a mixed-method study

Bas Kollöffel, Kirsten Olde Heuvel

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Being able to deliver effective and compelling presentations to various audiences, becomes more and more important for engineers. However, with full curricula and growing numbers of students in engineering domains, the training of good presentation skills often receives (too) little attention. Instructors don’t have time to train the students intensively, let alone that there is room for individual, formative feedback. The use of Virtual Reality (VR) might offer a solution. With this technology, students can practice their presentation skills on their own in front of a virtual audience.

The study presented here is part of a line of research into the effects and user experiences of VR presentation skills training for students of engineering. The
current study is about capturing the user experience and focused on an attribute that is assumed to be central to VR technology, namely the capacity to induce a strong sense of immersion in the user. The current study sought to explore if VR users respond to a virtual audience as were it a real audience. In order to investigate this, a mixed-method study with 46 students from a technical university was applied, in which the responses from the virtual audience were manipulated, and the effects of those manipulations on the level of user immersion were measured. We also investigated if personality traits moderated these effects. Quantitative (questionnaires) and qualitative (interview) data were collected to capture the effects of the manipulation, and the extent to which personality influenced the responses of users to the VR experience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngaging, Engineering, Education
Subtitle of host publicationSEFI 48th Annual Conference University of Twente (online), 20-24 September, 2020
EditorsJan van der Veen, Natascha van Hattum-Janssen, Hannu-Matti Järvinen, Tinne de Laet, Ineke ten Dam
PublisherSociete Europeenne pour la Formation des Ingenieurs (SEFI)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-020-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event48th SEFI Annual Conference on Engineering Education, SEFI 2020 - Online, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Sept 202024 Sept 2020
Conference number: 48


Conference48th SEFI Annual Conference on Engineering Education, SEFI 2020
Abbreviated titleSEFI 2020
Internet address


  • Presentation skills training
  • Virtual reality
  • Immersion
  • Personality


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