10 SES 03 B, Research on Programmes and Pedagogical Approaches in Teacher Education
Virtual Reality (VR) settings are a comparably recent phenomenon. Yet, they have found their ways into European educational scenarios already, and a growing number of research works confirms their affordances and suggests additional values when respective methods are included into educational settings reasonably, e.g. in terms of learning outcomes (Bucher, Blome, Rudolph & v. Mammen, 2018), motivation (Huang, Rauch & Liaw, 2010), or social and collaborative skills (Bailenson, Yee, Blascovich, Beall, Lundblad, & Jin,2008).
However, as it is the case with every medium, the mere inclusion of VR into teaching and learning does not guarantee for an added value and enhanced learning success automatically. It is essential to plan the implementation of the medium carefully and to reflect on a number of factors such as preconditions and requirements, but also on the process of implementation iteratively, to ensure a successful and beneficial learning process enhanced by VR (Huang et al., 2010). With regard to the growing use of VR learning scenarios and the ongoing VR related researches in European context, didactical concepts for these learning processes in VR are needed that can be used not only nationwide but also internationally.
Against this background, this presentation will introduce first results from a needs analysis which was intended to systematically assess the requirements for a virtual reality application in teacher education. This needs analysis was conducted at an early stage of an ongoing innovative research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education which has the aim of researching, implementing and evaluating VR in initial teacher education comprehensively (ViLeArn). This includes developing, testing and evaluating a Virtual Reality application to be used in German initial teacher education and also the pedagogical implementation, i.e., the development of a respective seminar concept for preservice teachers to foster the preservice teachers’ competencies in using VR for educational purposes, and the preparation of teacher educators and development of their respective competencies.
The project staff is interdisciplinary and brings together educational researchers from the chair of School Pedagogy with IT researchers from the chair of Human Computer Interaction to achieve a comprehensive and multi-faceted research perspective.
The pedagogical approach for the ViLeArn project is based on Tulodziecki, Herzig and Grafe (2014) who suggest a theory-based development and evaluation of concepts for didactical actions in higher education contexts. In the light of this approach, the needs analysis which will be introduced in the presentation is at the foundation of all subsequent efforts and establishes a necessary basis for further research.
The needs analysis has two main pillars, which are a thorough literature review and guided interviews. This way, the following research questions are to be answered:
- Which aspects and factors facilitate an efficient use of Virtual Reality in initial teacher education?
- Which requirements do student teachers and teacher educators define for a successful virtual reality application in ITE?
While these research questions are relevant for the ongoing research project, their exploration will be relevant for subsequent related national and international research as well.
Emerging related literature has often focused on aspects like technical issues (Huang et al., 2010), the impact of VR scenarios and their characteristics (Merchant et al., 2014) or comparative studies about VR or AR and non-VR or VR-settings (Radu, 2014), and it is desirable to add thorough research on the conditions and requirements which facilitate a successful implementation of respective learning scenarios.
As mentioned above, following the pedagogical approach of Tulodziecki, Herzig and Grafe (2014), the needs analysis serves as the foundation for the development of effective seminar designs that will be exemplary for the training of preservice teachers’ VR-related educational competencies and also for teacher educator courses. This needs analysis consists of two integral stages. The first stage represents the theory-based approach of analysing the needs of preservice teachers and teacher educators in higher education regarding the acquirement and facilitation of knowledge in the field of media pedagogy (Tulodziecki, 2017; Blömeke, 2017). Throughout the ongoing research project “Vilearn”, learning will take place as situated learning (Dawley et al., 2014) and thus social processes are significant to be payed attention to (Fischer 2001). Furthermore, as one of the main focuses will lay upon the VR learning surroundings, the experiences gained in VR in a pedagogical context are taken into consideration (Bailenson et al, 2008; Parong & Mayer, 2018). Supporting the assumptions empirically that were made theory based in stage one, the second stage of the needs analysis comprises qualitative interviews (Mayring, 2015) with n=10-15 preservice students and n=10-15 teacher educators. To develop an effective didactical teaching and learning concept (Kerres, 2013), their teaching and learning experiences in higher education represent a vital source of information. Attention will be payed to the diversity of students’ perceptions that derives from the fact that preservice teachers are specializing in teaching at different school types in Germany. Their needs and visions for an effective learning environment differ but however offer a holistic impression of what can be improved in learning scenarios at university. Likewise, teacher educators will be interviewed about their teaching experiences in the context of higher education. The guided interviews give them the opportunity to share their opinions and views on certain learning processes they have experienced so far, and on their requirements in relation to teaching preservice teachers with and about VR. The interview guidelines will be developed in accordance with related literature (Przyborski & Wohlrab-Sahr, 2014). The interviews will be transcribed and analysed by means of a qualitative content analysis (Mayring, 2015). All the interviews will be coded with the help of MAXQDA (Rädiker & Kuckartz, 2019). The categories for the analysis will be determined deductively, based on the method described by Kuckartz (2014).
The presentation seeks to explore student teachers’ and teacher educators’ requirements regarding a VR application and learning scenario for initial teacher education. The research questions have been framed as: • Which aspects and factors facilitate an efficient use of Virtual Reality in initial teacher education? • Which requirements do student teachers and teacher educators define for a successful virtual reality application in ITE? Expected outcomes of the research presented relate to a thorough and in-depth exploration of these aspects. More specifically, the following aspects will be focused: • The learning conditions of student teachers and teacher educators, such as media-related educational competencies (Tiede & Grafe, forthcoming), self-efficacy or media-related beliefs, • Frame conditions in higher education, • Didactic requirements of the VR application, and • Contextual framework conditions (cf. Tulodziecki et al., 2014). By this procedure, it is intended to make a relevant contribution to the state of art and to offer orientation points and references for the subsequent development of effective and useful VR-supported learning scenarios in teacher education. As fostering digital literacy is one of the main aims of the intended application of VR, the project coincides with the European Framework of Digital Competence of Educators (DigCompEdu), which is an important reference for educators in how to promote digital literacy in learning environments (Redecker, 2017). Findings of the ongoing research project will likely contribute to European efforts to empower teachers and learners with 21st century's key competences, transferring the impact of the results to a European level.
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