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Evaluation of The OpenScience Lab’s 3D Virtual Skiddaw application

Project leader(s): 
Shailey Minocha, Tom Argles and Steve Tilling, Field Studies Council (Collaborator)

In this project1, we had the following research objectives towards investigating the pedagogical advantages of virtual field trips and the challenges for their adoption:

  1. Understanding the (potential) role of VFTs in the curriculum in schools and higher education institutions (HEIs) 

We have primarily focussed on Geography, Geology, Environmental Sciences and Biology - disciplines that have a long tradition of physical fieldwork and first-hand experience of phenomena out-of-doors.

  1. Gathering the requirements for a 3D VFT application - based on evaluation of The Open University’s 3D virtual geology fieldtrip – the Virtual Skiddaw application2
  2. Challenges for adoption of 3D VFTs

Towards the research objectives, we investigated the following:

  • pedagogical underpinnings of 3D virtual environments and 3D VFTs in disciplines such as geology, biology, environmental science/studies and geography which are founded on field observations, exploration and enquiry.
  • potential of integrating VFTs within the curricula in schools and in HEIs.
  • perceptions of educators, students and assessment bodies towards 3D VFTs, and virtual fieldwork, in general; we used the Virtual Skiddaw App in workshops and presentations to illustrate the concept of a 3D VFT.

The empirical investigations have been user-centred3– focusing on the stakeholders and particularly, the end-users such as educators, students and fieldwork specialists, and we have interacted with them via interviews, workshops, demonstrations and a survey to elicit their perceptions and requirements. 

1Project outline and video on Daden’s website:  [accessed 14 October 2019]

2Shailey Minocha and Tom Argles - Evaluation of The OpenScience Lab’s 3D Virtual Skiddaw application, video resource, [accessed 14 October 2019]

3Stone, D., Jarrett, C., Woodroffe, M. and Minocha, S. (2005) User Interface Design and Evaluation, Morgan Kaufmann.


Related resources

Minocha, S. and Argles, T. (2019) Virtual Skiddaw: A case study investigating the effectiveness of 3D virtual field trips in supporting outdoor fieldwork. eSTEeM Final Report  (PDF)

Scholarship Shorts - video showcasing an innovative solution to the fieldwork problem by providing authentic and immersive 3D virtual environments.

Video length: 8 mins 

Download transcript