S4-SP6-1 - How can instructors strengthen students’ motivation to learn complex 3D concepts in an engineering classroom?

3. Research Full Paper
Jaskirat Singh Batra1 , Ra’sheedah Richardson2, Robert Webb3
1 Materials Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University
2 Center for Teaching Excellence, Texas A&M University
3 Physics and Astronomy, Texas A&M University

The effect of Virtual Reality (VR)-based lectures on student motivation to learn complex 3D materials science concepts is discussed in this Research Full Paper. With the growing classroom size and less personalized attention to students, STEM instructors are challenged with finding ways to strengthen student motivation and sustainably transform the educational experience of current and future learners. Students' ability to visualize and imagine complex 3D concepts in multiple engineering disciplines can be a barrier to learning for diverse learners. This research uses VR technology to study the impact on student motivation to learn materials science concepts based on John Keller's ARCS model of motivation. As a benchmark, student participants (n=26) were given a slides-based lecture, and the initial motivation level was assessed using the Instructional Materials Motivation Survey (IMMS) and reflection questions. Next, the VR intervention was given using low-cost and scalable Cardboard Viewers fitted with personal smartphones, followed by IMMS survey and reflection questions. A mixed-methods approach including the use of a t-test to analyze quantitative data, and Chi’s (1997) verbal data analysis to identify emergent themes among qualitative data was applied in this study. Overall student participants’ motivation was found to increase due to VR intervention. Among the four components of the ARCS motivation model of instruction, attention and satisfaction components showed a significant increase after the VR intervention, while relevance and confidence components remained unchanged. This finding suggests the use of scalable VR technology as a suitable option for capturing students’ attention in order to facilitate learning about complex 3D concepts in engineering classrooms.

Keywords: Student motivation, Materials science, Engineering education, Virtual Reality, 3D concepts, Scalable classroom