Developing student codesigned immersive virtual reality simulations for teaching of challenging concepts in molecular and cellular biology

F Jerry Reen, Owen Jump, Grace McEvoy, Brian P McSharry, John Morgan, David Murphy, Niall O'Leary, Billy O'Mahony, Martina Scallan, Christine Walsh, Briony Supple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Molecular biology theory represents a critical scaffold, which underpins multiple disciplines within life sciences education. However, it is well-documented that undergraduate students can struggle to achieve deeper understanding of key concepts and/or their application. One challenging, contributory aspect is the "invisible" nature of molecular biology processes compounded by critical 3D spatial orientations of the principal components and their interactions. Molecular theory specifically requires students to construct accurate, mental spatial models to develop their understanding. However, much of the traditional teaching and examination of such theory is limited to 2D representations. Technology-enhanced, complementary teaching and examination approaches, which engage students with spatial aspects of theoretical concepts, offer an exciting opportunity to support student learning in this area. In this study, we have explored the integration of an immersive virtual reality simulation based on a challenging molecular biology concept within an existing module taught at University College Cork. A mixed methods approach, grounded in learning theory, was undertaken to assess the student user and learning experience. The consensus response from students was one of enhanced learning, understanding, engagement, and motivation. Student partnership in the process of simulation design and integration was key to delivering the fully integrated experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Volume369
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2022

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