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Delectus - Scientific Journal, Inicc-Perú - [ISSN: 2663-1148]




Vol. 4 No. 1 (2021): January-June [Edit closure: 01/01/2021]

RECEIVED: 13/08/2020 | ACCEPTED: 28/12/2020 | PUBLISHED: 01/01/2021

Suggested quote (APA, seventh edition)

Elias Ramos, C. M., Vargas Acarpana, S. I., & Castillo Ly, K. V. B. (2021). Virtual reality in the undergraduate educational experience. Delectus, 4(1), 139-145.

Virtual reality in the undergraduate educational experience







Undergraduate students often have difficulty in achieving proposals and solving problems in a creative way, which results in low performance in some university subjects. The objective of this article is to analyze how virtual reality (VR) improves the undergraduate educational experience, through the analysis of articles on the subject from the last three years. The general conclusion is that VR improves creativity through motivation and flow state, developing learning skills in undergraduate students, encouraging their use and adapting existing programs to classes so that students generate more creative solutions to existing challenges and problems.

Keywords: virtual reality; education; creativity; motivation; flow state.

Virtual reality (VR) is a technological field that creates new environments or copies existing ones. For this purpose, a computer is used and they are visualized in an immersive way through virtual reality glasses, having a 3D and 360º vision, being able to feel that we are in that place (Gómez Sánchez, 2018). They are used by means of Oculus Rift, Daydream, Play Station VR or VR Sky helmets, as well as the use of cell phones with glasses, which can be made manually from cardboard, making them easier to use. (Gutiérrez et al., 2019). Thus, we have the ability to build and interact with 3D objects; make representations in the form of an avatar; and communicate with other participants (Grigorenko, 2019).

In this way, VR has the potential to enhance student learning by providing first-person experiences, such as the possibility of student participation, along with the ability to explore, manipulate and observe: objects, structures, representations and virtual environments. Thus, they promote deeper and more constructivist learning than when simply heard or seen (Gutierrez et al., 2019). Also, the virtual knowledge given, it can transmit the development of abilities and skills that are needed to act in situations of reality (Kampling, 2018). In this sense, the use of VR in education helps to motivate and stimulate students virtually to become fully involved in the process, interacting with VR and observing the results that later integrate and retain information, as well as develop learning skills, such as creativity (Tomalá Suárez & Obando Chonillo, 2018).

VR is currently being used in university education, achieving immersion in variable and complex situations, through simulations, in order to take virtual tours to museums, historical events, architectural designs or simulate human or technical problems such as surgical procedures, handling or creation of machinery, among others. Therefore, due to its simplicity to capture the attention of students, it allows them to relate to different contents of any subject (Gutiérrez et al., 2019). In addition, it eliminates the cost of buying and updating equipment in classrooms or laboratories, minimizes security risks, and decreases the use of dangerous or very valuable objects, as well as travel expenses (Heidari, 2020).

Therefore, before the educational uses, several aspects that intervene in the student's learning should be analyzed, but importance is being given to creativity, being its concept the generation of new and useful ideas or products. Likewise, creativity has some factors such as motivation and flow state that due to VR immersion (Yang et al., 2018), generates a good attitude that would be motivation, which in turn contributes to concentration on the given task defined as flow state, which would lead us to the student's creativity.

Motivation is defined as the students' willingness to participate in class activities and their reasons for doing this. In addition, motivation is composed of the interaction of four dimensions: attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction. (Gutierrez et al., 2019).

On the other hand, previous studies have shown that when individuals enter the flow state, they tend to show greater creative performance. Their concept of a highly positive and pleasant psychological situation that occurs when people can barely notice their activities and sometimes, they are not even aware of themselves. (Yanget al., 2018). Having the theory or state of flow the following dimensions: concentration, sense of control, loss of the notion of time and loss of self-awareness. (Gonçalves, 2018). It is so that without this condition of the creativity the ideas would not flow easily.

In this way, the theme is addressed, since students require the development of educational activities through creativity which can be developed through motivation and the state of flow. The objective of the article is to analyze how virtual reality improves the undergraduate educational experience. Whereas virtual reality improves creativity through motivation and flow state, improving learning skills in undergraduate students.

In undergraduate learning, students are required to develop cognitive and creative habits of mind through the use of VR applications, and teachers are required to search for and select cognitive programs so that when they place due value on these educational applications, they will take a leap of faith and integrate them into the classroom with habits of mind strategies (Steele et al., 2019). Therefore, it is important that teachers are always up-to-date in the use of ICTs and know how and what VR software can contribute to their subjects.
In this way, virtual realities have the facility to integrate students into novel and motivating environments, as well as to encourage them to focus only on the task or problem. In addition, it allows students to relate to unique and manipulable situations to obtain creative results. The limitations of VR seem to be that it overloads students cognitively with unnecessary information or sensations, reducing cognitive productivity (Grigorenko, 2019). Therefore, it is understood that the programs to be used should not have distracting scenarios or procedures that make the student's learning more difficult.

Also, it is known that students who receive feedback or reminder comments in a VR environment are better able to achieve creative performance. In this way, the feedback or reminder mechanism not only helps participants to focus, but also encourages them to think more about new ideas (Yan et al., 2019). Assuming in this way, that VR classes, should be accompanied by a learning methodology, reiterating what has been learned to encourage the cognitive and creative outcome that students require.

Also, VR is a platform for experimental solutions, which, by not causing any real negative consequences, allows students, in order to have less pressure, to seek and find creative results to problems (Heidari, 2020). Therefore, by achieving VR, access to various scenarios that are difficult to achieve in a real way, motivates students not to be afraid of experimenting. In this way, they make the operations of the VR environment easy to use, improving their learning levels, which can result in a greater focus on the creative process (Yang et al. 0, 218). Thus, because of its virtuality, VR contributes to improving various aspects of creativity such as the flow state.

As already mentioned, the flow state is promoted by VR in the undergraduate classes, and it is also acquired through playful challenges that can be met by the students, who carry out VR activities, seem to be in a flow state, as they are completely immersed in a feeling of focus with full participation and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Furthermore, it is appreciated that they are able to correctly answer the team challenge questions. Therefore, the state of flow is also linked to the building of camaraderie and interaction with its participants (Punako, 2018), which has to be taken into account in the group playful learning.

Also, the use of VR can obtain a state of flux, as users feel more immersive, focused and creative. Thus, it becomes clear that getting involved in an unreal world that makes the attention greater contributes to better assimilate information and through the flow theory be more creative (Gonçalves & Camposo, 2018). Therefore, one must be in a virtual environment, sufficiently immersive, in order to maintain the illusion of being in another space and not lose concentration, in the same way, the student should maintain the expectation of achieving the objective proposed by the teacher. In this way, the use of VR gives the sensation of being in a real world scenario, which positively influences immersion, so it is suggested to strengthen the feeling of embodiment and presence (Kampling, 2018). This can be reinforced with accessories, in addition to VR displays, in order to make the sensory interaction more complete.

Moreover, the flow experience occurs if the level of challenge is neither too high nor too low than the skill level of, in this case, the student. Therefore, if this balance is not provided, you cannot experience apathy, anxiety or relaxation, and you must allow them to feel confident of their ability and control in their learning environment. (Bagriacik Yilmaz & Banyard, 2020). Therefore, VR activities should have challenges that can be met in order to promote fluency in learning and creativity.

It is also clear that VR is easy to use and provides a better flow experience for the majority of participants, evidenced by the fact that users are satisfied with their work and enjoy a positive and pleasant mood when creating. Also, the immersive experimental condition of VR contributed to the performance, flow, attention and meditation of the individuals' product creativity. Similarly, students who relied on visual signals and contextual information were able to further increase their problem-solving performance. (Yan et al., 2019). Thus, being focused and enjoying the use of VR generates greater creative flow.

It is also known that the flow state is related to the satisfaction of university students in the use of VR in laboratories, also, it eliminates the limits of time and space, improving the performance of students, such as those of inquiry skills, practical skills, perception and analytical skills. Therefore, it is recommended to create a scenario of high interaction between students and the virtual environment, in order to strengthen their flow experience. Some challenge mechanisms, such as gamification, they are fundamental and this could help to increase student participation (Zhang et al., 2020). Therefore, it is advisable to use playful learning activities through games between students.

By theorizing the flow state as one of the important goals in VR environments, it is understood that motivation in students should be improved through the use of games. In addition, flow theory is known to work independently of technological quality and to be influenced by the will, mood and disposition of the users (Shin, 2018). Thus, an important part in achieving the development of the flow state is motivation, which is originated by the novelty of the use of new programs (Campos Soto et al., 2020). Therefore, VR is considered to improve motivation by promoting students' attention, interest and curiosity during classes. In this sense, motivation must have sufficient physical and virtual elements for each student to regulate their self-learning. The teacher's indications are also necessary to achieve the achievement of the competences of their classes, which must be prepared in advance so that students can solve problems in such a way that learning includes brain functions such as reasoning, memory and attention. This will allow the use of VR and the active participation of students through argumentation, proposal and resolution (Tovio et al., 2019). Therefore, it is necessary to accompany this learning tool with an adequate methodology together with the teacher's follow-up. It should be noted that the inclusion of VR in the educational experience, does not guarantee interest, motivation or understanding of the content, unless these resources are used in an appropriate educational environment (Altomari, 2017); being important the appropriate selection of VR programs, the quality of immersion and the learning methodology.

Also, it is important to achieve the motivation of the students, that the teacher is the first one to be motivated using VR, so that he or she can then motivate his or her students. It should be presented as a playful learning tool that increases students' interest and motivation, which will depend on how new the virtual tool is so that they feel more motivated (Díaz-López et al., 2019) due to the expectation of use (Özgen et al., 2019), making it clear that the more novel the student's interaction with VR, the greater their interest and attention.

In this way, VR provides an immersive learning experience that helps students explore educational content and interact with the virtual, minimizing internal and external distractions, which promotes awareness, retention and increases student motivation. In addition, VR makes it possible for students to learn in a personalized way by controlling the process, such as studying at their own rhythm, practicing as needed, and reflecting more (Heidari, 2020).

In summary, VR is a technological tool with great potential to positively stimulate motivation and interactivity in learning, especially the attention that arises if the student notices a gap between their current knowledge and the one being acquired by involving them in a unique and unforgettable experience. In this way, it facilitates a motivation with an emotional immersion that maintains the attention and the interest, waking up the curiosity generating sensations created from visual-auditory stimuli, that otherwise would be impossible to reach (Gutiérrez et al., 2019), constituting an important contribution the use of VR when associating it with unusual environments in which with a suitable methodology they would be sufficiently motivated for the learning.

After an analysis, it is concluded that VR improves creativity through motivation and flow state, developing learning skills in undergraduate students, encouraging their use and the adaptation of existing programs to classes, so that students generate more creative solutions to existing challenges and problems.
It is also evident that the state of flow is promoted by VR in undergraduate classes through playful challenges that students can meet, so it is important that tasks are implemented in the form of collaborative games, and thus manage to explore, collect, share and integrate knowledge during the process of generating creative ideas.

Finally, VR promotes motivation in the undergraduate classes through attention and curiosity. It is important that the systems are more immersive, through the use of university equipment and the training of teachers, so a budget will be required for the implementation and use of this technology.

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