Abstract

In fulfilling its role as a promotor of critical thinking and of nurturer of students as problem solvers, undergraduate engineering education needs to answer modern educational demands tailoring curricula to meet industry and career requirements and student learning styles.

Extended Reality technology, including virtual and mixed reality may enable educators to create tools for multisensory teaching, enhancing learning through guided imagery and haptics. Through undergraduate research, two co-op students explored the VR technology (engine) and developed the framework for a learning module that will present fundamental notions in renewable energy sources, using scenarios based on physical experiments. We developed a virtual reality learning platform and the modeling of the VR framework and applied it to several experimental modules: wind turbine, solar cell (PV) module, a water decomposition and fuel cell module. Students explore concepts as parametric characterizations of the system as well as thermochemical characterization. The module is packed in an executable app, which is downloadable and usable in both VR STEAM immersive environments as well as in a desktop format. Future work will include beta-testing and preliminary assessment of the VR Renewable Lab, followed by its course implementation.

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