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5 Experiences From Practical Use

In order to evaluate the VR learning application a quasi-experimental pretestposttest-follow-up control group design was chosen, with a group of trainees being taught traditionally by a trainer as the control group (TT) and a second equally sized group of trainees using the virtual reality application as the experimental group (VR). Hence, the trainees were assigned randomly to two groups of 10 persons each. In each training session participated 5 trainees and each one took 8 hours of work. This applies for both conditions, the TT training and VR training as well. [10] The evaluation has revealed a very high acceptance of the learning environment among users. The acceptance was rated even higher from the more experienced workers as they could imagine situations in which the use of the virtual environment would have had improved their understanding of processes and therefore their performance in the job.

The learning environment was easy-to-use for the whole peer group although it was recognized that the learning environment should be defined with respect to the user group. The design as well as the presentation of the content needs to be adapted for older users, e.g. by referring to experiences they made in their work life before.

6 Summary and Outlook

The paper at hand has presented the necessity of considering basic approaches of the didactical design when developing VR based learning environments. Based on the activity theory of Engeström the outcome of the learning system can be influenced by considering the learner, the learning object as well as media that is used for learning. Due to the technical domain that is focused in this paper, especially the field of maintenance, Virtual Reality reveals a high potential for designing learning applications as it allows the very clear and understandable visualization of complex technical processes. Learning in the real working environment is often limited because the equipment is not available or the handling is very dangerous. Learning in VR therefore contains no risk. Beside this the use of Virtual Reality allows learners to interactively solve learning tasks under the aspect of situated learning and the constructive approach of learning.

Future work will focus on the visualization of experiential knowledge. As experiential knowledge is mainly tacit knowledge, narrative methods for its investigation, as described in the paper at hand, need to be developed and applied. They can be improved by using VR-based applications that allow the documentation of stories already within the interview process and can keep the narrative structure. This ensures a better transfer process. Furthermore the access and the presentation of knowledge will be designed adaptively by means of the user characteristics (age, pre-existing knowledge).

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