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Extended reality (XR) virtual practical and educational eGaming to provide effective immersive environments for learning and teaching in forensic science

Hobson, L; Stimpson, I; Wisniewski, K; Pringle, J; Heaton, V; Zholobenko, V; Grossey, T; Rogers, S

Extended reality (XR) virtual practical and educational eGaming to provide effective immersive environments for learning and teaching in forensic science Thumbnail


L Hobson

K Wisniewski

V Zholobenko

T Grossey


Online virtual learning resources have been available for learning and teaching in forensic science for some years now, but the recent global COVID-19 related periods of irregular lockdown have necessitated the rapid development of these for teaching, learning and CPD activities. However, these resources do need to be carefully constructed and grounded in pedagogic theory to be effective. This article details eXtended Reality (XR) learning and teaching environments to facilitate effective online teaching and learning for forensic geoscientists. The first two case studies discussed in this article make use of Thinglink software to produce virtual learning and teaching XR resources through an internet system, which was delivered to undergraduate students in 2021. Case one details an XR virtual laboratory-based XRF equipment resource, providing a consistent, reliable and asynchronous learning and teaching experience, whilst the second case study presents an XR virtual learning applied geophysics resource developed for a 12-week CPD training programme. This programme involves recorded equipment video resources, accompanying datasets and worksheets for users to work through. Both case studies were positively received by learners, but there were issues encountered by learners with poor internet connections or computer skills, or who do not engage well with online learning. A third case study showcases an XR educational forensic geoscience eGame that was developed to take the user through a cold case search investigation, from desktop study through to field reconnaissance and multi-staged site investigations. Pedagogic research was undertaken with user questionnaires and interviews, providing evidence that the eGame was an effective learning and teaching tool. eGame users highly rated the eGame and reported that they raised awareness and understanding of the use of geophysics equipment and best practice of forensic geoscience search phased investigations. These types of XR virtual learning digital resources, whilst costly to produce in terms of development time and staff resource, provide a complementary virtual learning experience to in-situ practical sessions, and allow learners to asynchronously familiarise themselves with equipment, environments and techniques resulting in more efficient use of in situ time. The XR resources also allow learners to reinforce learning post in-situ sessions. Finally, XR resources can provide a more inclusive and authentic experience for learners who cannot attend or complete work synchronously.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 2, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 4, 2022
Publication Date 2022-11
Publicly Available Date May 30, 2023
Journal Science and Justice
Print ISSN 1355-0306
Electronic ISSN 1355-0306
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 62
Issue 6
Pages 696-707
Keywords search; educational eGaming; virtual practicals; geophysics; Flexible learning; XR
Publisher URL


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