A Qualitative Evaluation of Student Experience with a Virtual Heritage Application

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Computer Science

Conference Title

IEEE VR 5th Annual Workshop on K-12+ Embodied Learning through Virtual and Augmented Reality (KELVAR 2020)

Date of Presentation



Virtual heritage involves the use of digital media to reconstruct historic artifacts, places, or events. In this paper we explore the use of virtual reality (VR) technology for presenting virtual heritage applications to college students. Specifically, we describe our preliminary evaluation of a virtual reality application that introduces students to the Stockton State Hospital, a mental institution that was active from 1851 to 1995 in Stockton, California. The objective of the project is to allow students to learn about the hospital in an immersive virtual environment that may elicit more empathy for complex socio-historical experiences than traditional learning methods such as books, oral histories, or documentary films. To assess whether this objective was satisfied, students experienced the VR application as part of a college course and then completed a questionnaire that asked about their experience. Analysis of questionnaire responses suggests that students did develop some degree of empathetic understanding of social issues related to the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness during the late 1800s. Students also appreciated the visual and immersive aspect of the application, and some mentioned that they would prefer this type of learning experience to watching videos or reading articles.

First Page


Last Page