Inclusive Virtual Reality Learning: Review and 'Best-Fit' Framework for Universal Learning

Authors

  • Frank Wehrmann Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Informatik, Unter den Linden 6, Berlin https://orcid.org/0009-0007-5774-5045
  • Raphael Zender Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Informatik, Unter den Linden 6, Berlin

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.34190/ejel.21.6.3265

Keywords:

Inclusion, Virtual reality, Development, Guidelines, Design, UDL

Abstract

The rise of Virtual Reality (VR) in educational contexts has highlighted the need to design Virtual Reality Learning Applications (VRLAs) that prioritize inclusivity, accommodating a spectrum of learner needs. Despite the surging interest, there is a noticeable gap in research that delves into the specifics of creating VRLAs that are rooted in inclusive educational theory. This research sought to extract insights and recommendations for the development of VRLAs tailored for diverse student populations. The intention was to scrutinize research focused on the inclusive design elements of VRLAs, leading to the establishment of preliminary Inclusion Guidelines for VR Learning (IGVRL). Adopting the "best-fit" framework synthesis technique, the research anchored its findings in the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. UDL was developed to mold learning experiences to meet the requirements of heterogenous learners. Using UDL as a coding framework, a comprehensive literature review was undertaken, adhering to the SPIDER search strategy. The review of literature revealed distinct design recommendations that facilitate inclusive learning within VRLAs. Information was systematically categorized based on UDL's nine classifications and subsequently distilled into the preliminary IGVRL. It's pertinent to note that these guidelines, while offering a foundational perspective, necessitate further in-depth evaluations for validation. The analytical process brought to the fore several themes that UDL did not adequately encompass, such as the nuances of embodied learning, the focus on VR contents and their immersive properties, and the pivotal role of collaboration and cooperation in VRLAs. These insights underscore the further need for research in these areas. Although some facets of VR accessibility were discussed, a deeper exploration into this domain was identified as crucial, reiterating the importance of accessibility in underpinning inclusive education. The research underscores the potential of VRLAs in promoting inclusivity within educational settings and introduces the preliminary IGVRL for VRLA design, specifically targeting K-12 contexts. This paper emphasizes the continuum of research required to refine and validate these guidelines, ensuring their applicability and efficacy in diverse educational scenarios.

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Published

21 Feb 2024