Designing Educational Virtual Environments for Construction Safety: A Case Study in Contextualizing Incident Reports and Engaging Learners
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2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Safety education is important in the construction industry, with many onsite injuries and fatalities. Reviewing incident reports can be valuable in preventing the same mistakes from reoccurring and in reinforcing the concept of designing for construction safety. However, the required information can be difficult for students and non-experts to understand in a meaningful way without instructor facilitation. Recently research has shifted into using 3D virtual environments for safety education, with applications teaching learners how to identify hazards and operating procedures. While there are exploratory results on student engagement and overall learning, there is less focus on how the design influences the learning outcomes. For these reasons we conducted a case study in system design to understand how to effectively contextualize raw incident reports into a meaningful 3D educational experience. From our case study, we present a single-learner educational application with both a desktop computer and VR version. The desktop version was used in development of the applications design framework and in a controlled study testing how interaction techniques influence learning and behavioral outcomes. The results showed that interaction technique did significantly affect total time spent using the application, but did not affect remembering and understanding. We discuss how lessons learned from the user study were applied to the VR version, what designs revisions needed to be made, and overall usability. Lastly, we summarize the experiences and evaluations from the case study by listing design guidelines for creating educational virtual environments from existing 2D information records.