Virtual Site Visits: Student Perception and Preferences Towards Technology Enabled Experiential Learning
Keywords:virtual site visit, experiential learning, student preferences, technology en-hanced learning, pedagogical approach
Site visits are a key pedagogical tool within natural science and geographical education. Site visits provide an interactive experience to enable learning through the exposure to a real-world spatio-temporal environment. COVID-19 restrictions required the development of a virtual site visit for a landscape ecology course in North America. In this study, a series of digital tools were coordinated to deliver site visit information focusing on multi-sensory, multi-scalar, and multi-media information based on Kolb’s experiential learning model, particularly Step 1, the concrete experience. This research explored student’s perceptions and opinions of the digital tools provided to complete their ecological restoration management assignment and their effectiveness and usability. 4th year natural resource and environmental science students (n=52) reported predominately positive attitudes towards the use of the virtual site visit. Though students did not prefer the virtual site visit over a physical site visit, they noted that the virtual site visit digital tools did provide the same information as a site visit and that they felt they were able to understand all aspects of the physical site through the virtual site visit tools provided, particularly through the digital photographs and the 360-degree virtual reality imagery. Successful student assignments illustrated experiential learning outcomes were met.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Richard leBrasseur
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