Teaching Engineering Concepts in an Immersive Virtual Reality Environment

COIL is proud to support the VR Penn State: Teaching Engineering Concepts in an Immersive Virtual Reality Environment project through our Research Initiation Grant Program.


Communicating an idea is an integral part of learning, particularly in the STEM fields where idea generation is a key element to successful solutions. This study seeks to explore whether there exists statistically significant differences in learning outcomes between i) individuals in brick and mortar environments and ii) individuals in immersive virtual reality environments, when engaged in tangible interactions (e.g., prototype creation or similar hands on activities) and intangible interactions (e.g., team discussions). Knowledge gained from this project will provide educators with quantitative evidence pertaining to the concepts that are better taught in brick and mortar environments and the concepts that are indifferent to the medium of knowledge dissemination. The PIs will achieve this through the use of immersive virtual reality (VR) technologies such as the Oculus Rift that provide users with a sense of being physically present in the virtual space. This COIL proposal will provide the pilot study data and research publications needed to compete for larger external funding from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation.


  • Conrad Tucker, Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Design, University Park
  • Chimay Anumba, Professor and Department Head of Architectural Engineering, University Park
  • Sven Bilen, Professor and Department Head of School of Engineering Design, Technology and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP), Professor of Electrical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, University Park
  • Janis Terpenny, Professor and Department Head of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, University Park


Conrad Tucker Head ShotConrad Tucker
Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
213-N Hammond Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-7580


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