Available student project - Virtual Reality for Physics Education

Research fields

  • Physics Education

Project details

We have developed to apps using highly-immersive Virtual Reality (VR) to target enhanced learning in physics education. Dissonance-VR targets misconceptions around forces, by quizing students about forces acting on a basketball, and then presenting them with the physical world that manifests their answer. Any misconception they have results in an unphysical world that feels wrong. A narrator guides them to correct their choice and their misconception.

Field-VR is an electric and magnetic field sandbox that allows students to visualise electric and magnetic fields and be immersed in them. They can build complex fields using standard electric and magnetic sources, as well as test charged particle trajectories. The hope is that this visual tool will aid students in learning EM, particularly those who find spatial problems challenging. This software has recently been upgraded to allow for multiple users - i.e. collaborative VR tutorials. 

We have conducted first-stage studies with Disonance VR with over 100 students. Relative to student who have not studied VR, early evidence is that those who used VR improved their conception understanding for 40% more, on average. 

There are several possibilities to for new studies that can be tailored to an Honour, Masters, or PhD level course of study. In particular, no large-scale studies have yet been conducted with Field VR. A formal A-B study with randomised test and control groups for Dissonance VR, is the next step. 

You can see me pitch both apps here (2min), or see a recent conference presentation on Dissonance-VR results here (18min).

Required background

A good undestanding of first year mechanics, and/or first-year electromagnetism is needed. 

Experience in statistics, survey analysis, or social-science quantitaive methods would be useful, but isn't necessary. 

Students with game development interests are also welcome to apply on the development side. 

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • 3rd year special project
  • PhB (2nd or 3rd year)
  • Honours or MSc project

Contact supervisor

Debs, John profile

Updated:  28 October 2021/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster