LearnIoTVR: An End-to-End Virtual Reality Environment Providing Authentic Learning Experiences for Internet of Things

by | Feb 24, 2023

Authors: Zhengzhe Zhu, Ziyi Liu, Youyou Zhang, Lijun Zhu, Joey Huang, Ana villanueva, Xun Qian, Kylie Peppler, Karthik Ramani
In the Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

The rapid growth of Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications has generated interest from many industries and a need for graduates with relevant knowledge. An IoT system is comprised of spatially distributed interactions between humans and various interconnected IoT components. These interactions are contextualized within their ambient environment, thus impeding educators from recreating authentic tasks for hands-on IoT learning.We propose LearnIoTVR, an end-to-end virtual reality (VR) learning environment which helps students to acquire IoT knowledge through immersive design, programming, and exploration of real-world environments empowered by IoT (e.g., a smart house). The students start the learning process by installing virtual IoT components we created in diferent locations inside the VR environment so that the learning will be situated in the same context where the IoT is applied. With our custom-designed 3D block-based language, students can program IoT behaviors directly within VR and get immediate feedback on their programming outcome. In the user study, we evaluated the learning outcomes among students using LearnIoTVR with a pre-and post-test to understand to what extent does engagement in LearnIoTVR lead to gains in learning programming skills and IoT competencies. Additionally, we examined what aspects of LearnIoTVR support usability and learning of programming skills compared to a traditional desktop-based learning environment. The results from these studies were promising. We also acquired insightful user feedback which provides inspiration for further expansions of this system.


Zhengzhe Zhu

Zhengzhe Zhu

Zhengzhe Zhu is a first year PhD student in the school of ECE at Purdue University. His current work focuses on Cloud-based Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Currently, he is working on an online multi-client collaboration platform for the intelligent tutoring system.