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Learning the Nuclear: Educational Tourism in (Post)Industrial Sites

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Edited By Natalija Mazeikiene

This book illuminates the educational potential of nuclear tourism and learning about nuclear power in informal and non-formal learning settings. The authors present a case of elaboration of the educational virtual nuclear route in the Ignalina Power Plant Region, Lithuania. Nuclear tourism takes its shape at the junction of several types of tourism – energy, industrial, cultural, and heritage and it becomes a site of outdoor and place-based education, promotes STEM, energy literacy, critical thinking, and environmental skills, and creates a valuable source for virtual learning. The book reveals peculiarities of learning and experience at nuclear power plants and disaster tourism destinations such as the Chernobyl Museum and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

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Innovative Technological Solutions in Virtual Nuclear Education (Judita Kasperiūnienė)

Judita Kasperiūnienė

Innovative Technological Solutions in Virtual Nuclear Education

Abstract: The need for researching nuclear learning-related processes in different countries, formal and non-formal education contexts and age groups, has been continuously growing. The plethora of didactic and technological solutions to create virtual nuclear education products often misleads educators. Our study aims to categorize and map out the existing scholarly concepts and online examples of nuclear education and virtual tours, from which to commission further reviews by identifying gaps in the research literature and virtual solutions. The findings from the review of the articles accessed in Springer Link, Scopus, Taylor & Francis, and ACM mono and multidisciplinary scholar databases and online portals, apps, and games on nuclear learning–related topics showed the difference in the concepts on nuclear education, nuclear information, and nuclear technologies for diverse scientific fields. Literature analysis has revealed a gap between modern technologies and methods of teaching and learning in formal and non-formal education contexts. Research showed that the integration of technological progress into teaching processes could be challenging. Mature educational technologies and methods may not adequately address the needs of individual learners and society. The findings, illustrating the complex nature of virtual reality solutions and virtual tour technologies applicable to online nuclear education, nuclear information, and nuclear technology studies, covering topics of empirical scholar research, online and smart solutions, allowed us to construct a framework of serious gaming for non-edutainment purposes, incorporating learning and playing tools, motivators, and educational strategies.

Our research gives insights into nuclear tourism route construction, proposing a technology acceptance model, suggesting storytelling, virtual navigation, human spatial behavior, digital and human factors, and tools and technologies research as the key topics of further empirical research and offering online tours, mobile apps, and 360 videos as technologies to facilitate virtual learning, impact learning outcomes, and raise nuclear literacy. While proposing to use serious games and tours for virtual nuclear education, we see some limitations. In nuclear education settings (formal and informal), these technologies are mainly adapted to the learner generation who accept technology. Still, some learners find it difficult to immerse in virtual activities and experience a difference between virtual and live guided tours. For educators, the biggest challenge is not only to create virtual materials on nuclear education in the text format but also, together with computer scientists and engineers, to develop virtual narrative, immersive games, simulation apps, and other types of virtual reality solutions. For nuclear scientists, the biggest challenge remains the communication of scientific information in a learner-friendly format. ←274 | 275→

Keywords: educational tools for virtual tour development experiential gaming geolocation technologies for education mapping review serious gaming for non-edutainment purposes technology acceptance model virtual nuclear education.

Introduction

Nuclear science is the study of atom application to various spheres of human life. It not only deals with structures, elements and forces of the nuclei; application of radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases; sub-atomic processes in technology or chemical engineering, but also with nuclear safety and security; climate change; and policies, countries, and communities. Nuclear science can be studied in formal and informal nuclear education settings. Formal nuclear education starts in pre-primary classes and continues in schools, universities or colleges. Children start nuclear education in kindergarten through environmental lessons. Later, integrated STEM lessons develop students’ nuclear literacy – the ability to recognize, understand, interpret, create, communicate, calculate, and use printed and written data about the atom, its properties, and applications in a variety of contexts and real-life situations. A few examples below show that in the formal education context, nuclear (or atomic) literacy is developed in a comprehensive way, integrating it into a variety of study curriculums, subjects, classes, and informal education. For example, in Hungary, “nuclear chapters of the curriculum” were integrated into school education in the last decade of the twentieth century (Toth & Marx, 1996) after the Chernobyl catastrophe. While these lessons teach atomic physics, chemistry or nature, teachers say their students are learning to observe everyday life; they learn democracy and decision-making based upon a shared understanding of information. In addition to that, students learn that nuclear education means responsibility for others and for the future (ibid.). In post-Fukushima Japan, scholars, teachers, and decision-makers believe that nuclear education (formal and informal) is very important, and the subject is actively discussed. For example, radiation lectures are provided in Japanese high schools, seeking that nuclear literacy positively transforms learners’ attitudes and behaviors related to radiation in general, and disasters specifically (Tsubokura, Kitamura & Yoshida, 2018). Japanese scholars have proved that nuclear education enables young people to make better decisions about important matters in their daily lives. Another study in Turkey (Yavuz-Topaloglu, Demirhan, & Atabek-Yigit, 2019) focused on the importance of gender in examining the links between nuclear education and daily living. The results ←275 | 276→of this study showed that male respondents support nuclear power more than female, and adult females with children (mothers) are more likely to oppose nuclear power. These findings are even more important because the family in general and mothers in specific have a great influence on their children not only in formal, but also in informal education.

In the higher education context, nuclear technology studies are more specialized. They are mainly concentrated in fundamental, medicine or engineering faculties of universities and colleges. Although nuclear science is a relatively young science and several incidents all around the world have attracted public opinion, the interest of the young generation in the formal nuclear study has fallen (Brancucci, Flore, & von Estorff, 2014). Engineering faculties have reduced student admissions to nuclear education–related study programs (Ahn et al., 2015). Meanwhile, the first generation of nuclear experts and professionals have begun to retire, resulting in a gap between the incoming and outgoing specialists’ flows (Brancucci, Flore, & von Estorff, 2014). This has led not only to a gradual shortage of skilled professionals and a greater risk of losing valuable knowledge to the nuclear community (ibid.) but also to the deteriorating public awareness of nuclear education and nuclear safety–related issues.

Informal nuclear education is a very important topic that encourages people of all ages to think, make decisions, and understand the importance of nuclear energy not only in engineering or medicine but also in everyday life. (Luk et al., 2018). Informal nuclear education happens in education laboratories, museums, exhibitions, non-formal places, and virtual spaces. In order to enhance the children’s, teachers’ and the community’s interest in modern nuclear physics or nuclear energy, scientists search for non-traditional ways, places, environments for teaching and organizing active or immersive learning. New emerging technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, computational dynamics, virtual laboratories, and virtual worlds have recently been more widely used not only for teaching Science, Technology, and Engineering, but also for informal science education and science communication. Virtual reality, characterized by three key elements, such as visualization, when the user, gamer, or learner has the ability to look around, usually with the use of a head-mounted display; immersion, when the person mixes imaginary and physical representation of objects; and interactivity, providing the degree of control over the experience, usually achieved with sensors and an input device like joysticks or keyboards (Yung & Khoo-Lattimore, 2019), is taking an increasing place in teaching and learning. The concept of immersive education can be applied to all aspects of education for different age and competency group learners: formal, informal, massive and professional training, from preschool education to ←276 | 277→life-long learning (Potkonjak et al., 2016). One of the most popular contemporary educational environments is virtual or mixed reality tours (Domingo and Bradley, 2018). Virtual tours are panoramic, virtual, augmented, or mixed reality simulations of the existing rural or urban places and environments. Technically speaking, virtual tools are collections of images accompanied by sounds or audio texts. Virtual tour development technologies have been thoroughly analyzed and described; they are constantly changing and improving (e.g. Napolitano, Scherer, & Glisic, 2018; Yung & Khoo-Lattimore, 2019; Tung et al., 2015). The educational goal of virtual tours and their relation to audiences determine not only how the virtual tour is constructed, accessible or immersive, but also what didactic messages are sent to users.

In addition to formal and informal nuclear education, nuclear information (informing, sharing and raising awareness of nuclei-related topics) may generate support for scientific research and technological practices; influence decision-making; inspire political, ethical and environmental thinking; and educate and strengthen communities.

In Lithuania, despite the fact that the country is no longer considered a nuclear state as the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant was shut down more than a decade ago, public nuclear literacy for different education groups remains particularly important. By synthesizing and analyzing the existing scientific literature and online technological solutions on nuclear education and virtual tours and integrating research from various subjects (not limited to nuclear physics and environmental education, science, engineering and computer technologies), insights for the nuclear virtual route development can be created. The aim of this study was to categorize and map out the existing scholar concepts and online examples of nuclear education from which to commission further reviews by identifying gaps in the research literature and virtual solutions for educational material presentation. The research questions were: (i) how the concept of nuclear learning is presented and discussed in research literature; (ii) what topics of empirical research related to nuclear education through virtual tours dominate in scientific databases of multidisciplinary and monodisciplinary peer-reviewed literature; (iii) what topics, scenarios, and solutions are used to create freely accessible virtual tours to develop nuclear literacy.

Methodology

The mapping review (Grant & Booth, 2009) was applied to search and contextualize the research literature and internet portals that provide the possibility to ←277 | 278→travel and learn virtually. Systematic review search filters were used by summarizing empirical research articles related to nuclear education, searching information about virtual tours development and their use in teaching and learning process, focusing on the first research question (Lefebvre et al., 2017).

In the mapping review, the principles of scientific evidence-based inquiry were followed: (i) opening significant questions for empirical investigation of scientific literature and website materials; (ii) linking research to conceptual framework; (iii) using causal mapping as a method and technique (e.g. Lorenc et al., 2012; Bryson et al., 2004) that allowed direct investigation of the research question; (iv) mapping chain of reasoning (Lal, Donnelly & Shin, 2015), identifying limitations and biases, and estimating uncertainty (McMillan & Schumacher, 2010).

The mapping review was conducted in Scopus, ACM, Springer Link, and Taylor & Francis databases (2014–2018). These databases were selected seeking to find and analyze mono and multidisciplinary empirical research in social and technological sciences with a STEM perspective. The iterative stages of searching, synthesis, critical interpretation, and causal mapping were performed while researching nuclear education and science communication–related scholar topics and technological solutions of virtual tours. The following inclusion criteria were used: (i) the full article was published in scientific peer-reviewed journals in English; (ii) the article was published between 2014 and 2018; and (iii) the articles were based on an integrated approach covering nuclear education and virtual tours with the focus on STEM with a strong emphasis on citation of the selected articles. In the selection of empirical articles, preference was given to those who influenced the creation of new meta-theoretical constructs seeking theoretical saturation with respect to the framework. If the articles contained contradictory, conflicting, or underdetermined theories, the search continued seeking to purify those empirical studies, in which the variables of the chosen theory associated, correlated or reported the empirical data, making connections and preliminary substantiating theoretical statements or claims (Lorenc et al., 2012).

The construction of the research consisted of three stages inside the general iterative mapping review procedure. In the initial phase, scientific literature was identified, screened, and structured using the keywords “nuclear education” and “virtual tours”, finding the key topics of empirical research. During the second phase, the ten most popular online freely accessible virtual tours were investigated and tested. Then the links between the concepts, empirical research topics, virtual tour scenarios, and technological solutions were developed, and challenges discussed.←278 | 279→

Findings

A variety of technologies exists to provide and support virtual nuclear education. Our research focuses on game-based learning (e.g. Romero et al., 2016) as the method of teaching with games not specifically for virtual nuclear education. Game-based learning allows users of all ages and backgrounds to stay motivated and self-master the study curriculum effortlessly. Different types of games continuously motivate players with elements of challenge, fantasy, and curiosity (e.g. Asgari & Kaufman, 2004; Malone, 1980). While the main “official” goal of games is entertainment, scholars discuss the use of games in different learning environments and disagree over whether players learn while they are having fun. We consider that higher levels of thinking and social skills can be developed through play and learning. Creating and mastering the content means gaining facts, information and skills, and building knowledge not only from teachers, practitioners, and other experts, but also from the game environment and other gamers. Many games where users need to master their own content offer opportunities for individual or group learning. These types of games could be applied not only to informal studies, but also to formal education classrooms as additional learning materials to stimulate learner interest and to raise study motivation. Games can develop cognitive and perceptual competencies such as attention and concentration on details, characters or events; understanding of story-play, strategic thinking, problem-solving, planning, and memorizing. Games sharpen players’ emotional and volitional competencies such as emotional and stress control, and endurance – the skills, critically important for social development, as well as academic performance and later life success (e.g. Hromek & Roffey, 2009). School children experiments by Goldstein and Lerner (2018) proved that in games, children could develop altruism to a stranger; comforting behaviors to someone in distress; helping behaviors to a person who needs assistance; and positive classroom social behaviors. Additionally, players develop cooperation, competition, mutual support, empathy, and moral judgment competences (Wiemeyer & Hardy, 2013).

Further in this chapter we discuss some issues concerning serious games – the digital games used for non-entertainment purposes not specifically in nuclear education environments. The research of empirical evidence of the impacts and outcomes of serious games, performed by Boyle and her colleagues (2016), has pointed out that the term “serious games” is becoming a new mainstream. In many cases, it is used interchangeably with games for learning. Serious games can be used to promote knowledge acquisition across a wide range of topics, to develop social skills and behavior change. For formal and informal nuclear ←279 | 280→education, an experiential gaming model (Kiili, 2005), based on experiential learning theory (Moon, 2013), flow theory (Nakamura & Csikszentmihaly, 2009) and game design (Salen, Tekinbaş & Zimmerman, 2004) can be used. In experiential learning theory, learning is described as a cycle integrating “Dewey’s philosophical pragmatism, Lewin’s social psychology, and Piaget’s cognitive developmental genetic epistemology” (Kolb & Kolb, 2012, p. 2), and transforming active experiences into conceptual understandings and applications through reflection (Moseley et al.,2020). The four-stage cycle is observed: active experimentation, concrete experiences, reflective observation, and abstract conceptualization. Although learning could begin at any stage, all the stages need to be completed – introducing active experiencing with new concepts, models, role-playing and problem-solving, discussing, analyzing, and reflecting on live or virtual experiences (ibid.). The learner can become so involved in the game that he no longer feels the amount of time he has been playing. Time is like “disappearing” (Nakamura & Csikszentmihaly, 2009). Therefore, to keep the user not only entertained while playing, but also achieving educational goals, game developers need to collaborate with educators on the game design. Technology acceptance model (e.g. Marangunić & Granić, 2015) explains how learners accept and use technologies, analyzes the learners’ intentions, attitudes, motivation, and beliefs concerning technologies. Game-based learning used for education scenario and game environment development consider gameplay and usability perspectives; learner technological competences and preferences; edutainment experiences; and pedagogical integration. (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1:The framework of serious gaming for non-edutainment purposes

A virtual tour is a simulation of an existing location with the help of audio, outdoor and indoor maps, floor plans, sequential videos, or still images. These tours help in recreating a realistic representation of reality and presenting views to inaccessible areas. In nuclear education, there are some areas of the nuclear power plant restricted to non-specialist visit, or some specific situations need to be artificially constructed for information or education; therefore, virtual tours could be a solution for a broader audience. Besides, virtual tours could become an interesting alternative to fieldwork when expenses, time, or logistics are an issue for users. Nuclear education and science communication could develop not only through serious gaming techniques, but also by applying virtual tours as innovative and interactive tools, as well as presentations of learning materials and new knowledge, allowing users to actively immerse into a topic. In many cases, virtual tours, similar to the so-called live tours and excursions, are guided. Guiding allows the user not to be lost on a tour. Digital guiding could be done by using text, pictures, maps, audio, video materials, or a combination of these techniques. It includes serious game elements that motivate learners ←280 | 281→and makes the overall process not only challenging, but also entertaining and immersive. Quite frequently, a person sitting in front of a computer does not even distinguish between virtual tours and digital games. Guidance features, the availability of feedback and performance reporting, and the integration of engaging and reflective capabilities enhance the overall experience, empower the learner’s memories, help to interact with new knowledge, and develop practical skills (Mostafa, 2018). Through the virtual guided tours, learning, and raising awareness on nuclear tourism, the route could grow. With the help of serious games and virtual tour tools, learners are informed about science and get involved in continuous learning. During the virtual tour, they are allowed to experiment, observe, and change their environmental habits. Therefore, as with serious games, people of all ages acquire knowledge, new skills, learn how to creatively solve problems, actively experiment, reflect and observe, and conceptualize their own findings (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2:Experiential gaming tools, motivators, and learning strategies for virtual nuclear education

In the next section, the research topics of the last five years (2014–2018) dominating in the empirical scientific articles in the area of nuclear education and virtual touring are identified and key themes discussed.←281 | 282→

Dominating Topics of Virtual Nuclear Education Empirical Research

In four scholar databases, 1268 empirical articles were screened (N=1268), using three main keywords: “nuclear education”, “virtual tour technologies”, and “virtual reality solutions”. The database search exposed that articles empirically studying nuclear education concept are mostly published in Springer Link (n=682, 53.7 % of all researched cases) and Scopus (n=354, 27.92 % of all researched cases). In Taylor & Francis database 165 articles (n=165, 13.01 % of all researched cases) and in ACM – 67 articles (n=67, 5.28 % of all researched cases) have been found.

In Springer Link, the most popular concept was virtual tour (634 articles), while the nuclear education concept was much less popular (48 articles). In this database, computer science (230 articles) and engineering (74 articles)–related topics dominated (Fig. 2). Empirical studies on virtual tours covered technological peculiarities of user interface construction and human-computer interaction testing in artificially created environments (e.g. Zhang & Zhu, 2017; Checa, Alaguero & Bustillo, 2017); information systems application for indoor and ←282 | 283→outdoor museum exhibitions (e.g. Fabrizio, Chara & Brumana, 2018; Kersten, 2018), immersive web-based, panoramic, virtual, and augmented reality tours (e.g. Debailleux, Hismans & Duroisin, 2018; Bruno et al., 2016), VR games (e.g. Zhang et al., 2018; Iacono, Zolezzi & Vercelli, 2018), storytelling (e.g. Carrozzino et al., 2018; Battad & Si, 2016), etc. (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3:The number of articles from the five most popular scientific fields researching nuclear education and virtual tours in Springer Link online collection of scientific, technological and medical journals, books and reference works (N=634; the number of articles researching virtual tours in the rectangle; the number of articles researching nuclear education in the oval)

In Scopus, empirical articles on virtual reality solutions and virtual tour technologies were the most popular (Fig. 4). The tourism computerization process, design of virtual tourist routes (e.g. Voronkova, 2018; Bruno et al., 2017); 3D and augmented guided tours and excursions (e.g. Lee, 2017), virtual and GPS-based navigation solutions (e.g. Wang & Chen, 2018), virtual and mobile museums, exhibitions, nature and cultural heritage, historical and wildlife preservations (e.g. Podzharaya & Sochenkova, 2018; Kersten et al., 2018), computer graphics, data visualization, 3D restorations of heritage objects (e.g. Cha et al., 2018; Castagnetti, Giannini & Rivola, 2017) were empirically researched in outdoor and outdoor educational environments, formal and non-formal learning settings. A total 65 articles empirically examined nuclear education and atom engineering–related topics. These topics covered nuclear literacy, nuclear information, and nuclear technology education. Luk et al. (2018) presented immersive virtual reality systems for nuclear literacy. Some empirical research focused on nuclear safety and raising public awareness (e.g. Wang ←283 | 284→et al., 2017; Liu & Xia, 2014) and virtual laboratories and simulators for nuclear power plant specialist training (e.g. Yakovlev et al., 2015; Gatto et al., 2013). The authors stated that immersive learning could grab learners’ attention, build an interactive educational relationship, develop a sense of belonging to nature and community, and activate life-long learning action.

Fig. 4:Most popular article topics, researching virtual reality solutions, virtual tours and formal and informal nuclear education and training in Scopus peer-reviewed journals (N=372)

In Taylor & Francis, 25 empirical articles researching nuclear education were found (Fig. 5). Here, studies on nuclear (atomic) literacy were published (e.g. Carson, 2018; Volpe & Kühn, 2017). The studies on virtual tours examined tours as educational phenomena. Orru, Kask and Nordlund (2019) empirically investigated social and individual motivational factors governing satisfaction with virtual nature touristic routes. These authors confirmed that a good foundation story and educational narrative may expand enthusiastic reactions and emotional responses. Virtual field trips as a technique for experiential learning in school were studied by Kenna and Potter (2018). These researchers discussed the benefits and limitations of virtual field trips to students and presented different cases of virtual field trips, stating that virtual tours are “the most viable means of accessing the world outside the classroom to incorporate experiential and authentic activities into the daily curriculum” (ibid.).

Fig. 5:Most popular article topics on a virtual tour and nuclear education-related topics in Taylor & Francis books and academic journals (N=165, number of articles researching virtual tours in the rectangle; the number of articles researching nuclear education in the oval) ←284 | 285→

The ACM Digital Library is the world’s most exhaustive database of scholar publications and bibliographic materials covering computing and information technology. In this database, empirical articles that investigate the atomic instruction idea were not found. The most popular topics covering the virtual tour conceptual area are presented in Fig. 6. In the empirical articles, provided in the ACM database, virtual reality software and technology and virtual tutoring environments were comprehensively researched. Software and hardware systems for virtual navigation, such as 3D virtual scene generation (e.g. Wang & Chen, 2018), artificial agents as tutors (e.g. Cafaro, Vilhjálmsson, & Bickmore, 2016), and many more modern information technology–related topics, repeated in the previously mentioned databases, were contemplated. In the articles published in ACM journals, non-natural landscapes, embodiment, relational intelligence, human-like appearance, and non-verbal behavior were analyzed in artificially created environments.

Fig. 6:Most popular article topics, researching virtual reality solutions, virtual tours and formal and informal nuclear education and training in ACM digital library (N=67)

The literature screening revealed three additional conceptual areas directly linked to nuclear education and virtual tours with the focus on STEM and virtual environments – (Nuclear) Serious Games, Digital Guiding and Nuclear Tourism Routes. Nuclear serious games are electronic games that have the purpose to educate, train, and change the learner’s behavior through entertainment in the areas of nuclear literacy, atom physics, environmental security or related ←285 | 286→subject areas by applying various problem solving, challenges, rewards, and other engagement components provided in virtual gameplay environments. Technically speaking, serious games could be computer or mobile games, simulations or interactive models, virtual environments, augmented or mixed reality and social media meeting places that provide opportunities to educate or train through responsive narrative and story, gameplay and encounters. Digital guiding is an educational activity aimed at virtually transmitting information about original objects, cultural and natural resources, constructing subjective meanings and establishing an experiential relationship, and instilling understanding and appreciation of the interpreted environment. Technically, digital guiding is done with audio or video technologies, text, or interactive communication. The nuclear tourism route is a virtual walk on specially selected areas important to nuclear energy. The learner usually constructs the nuclear tourism route himself or herself of freely chosen virtual paths, scenes, or game environments with known social, topographical, or economic accents – including images, recreation areas, and interpretive regions that reveal certain features and aspirations for nuclear literacy. In the studied scientific articles, ←286 | 287→nuclear museum education was touched very superficially. Supposedly, it is under investigation, but in this context, virtual solutions integration and game-based learning have not been sufficiently explored. Links between empirically researched conceptual areas based on researched concepts, most popular scientific fields observed in multidisciplinary and monodisciplinary peer-reviewed articles, and teaching, training, and learning challenges are presented in Tab. 1 and Tab. 2. Substantial challenges are related to the use of smart technology and the relative reluctance or inability of experts to communicate scientific knowledge in a way that is understandable to the public. For example, as modern technology solutions are constantly evolving, formal education institutions and individual learners often do not have access to the latest virtual reality devices. In addition, some specialized software is expensive.←287 | 288→

Tab. 1: The challenges in virtual technology solutions and virtual tour technologies used within most popular scientific fields and educational settings

Concepts

Scientific fields

Challenges

Sample

Springer Link

Scopus

Taylor & Francis

ACM

research

Virtual reality solutions

Virtual reality, 3D computer graphics, and modeling augmented reality

Virtual reality, graphics, mobile and ubiquitous multimedia

i) Although technology offers unique simulation and visualization opportunities for use in everyday life situations, urban and environmental planning; could teach a healthy lifestyle; healthier and safer living, the biggest challenge stays technology acceptance.

ii) Immersion in technology activities may become unmanageable and hard to self-regulate.

Luk et al., 2018; Checa, Alaguero & Bustillo, 2017; Zhang & Zhu, 2017; Boulos et al., 2017 ←288 | 289→

Virtual tour technologies

Computer science, engineering, business and management, social sciences (general), education

Virtual tour, culture and heritage, visualization

Education, humanities, arts, tourism, and hospitality

Interactive virtual tour, user behavior in virtual tours

i) Users are engaged in complex problem solving that requires coordination of multiple concepts to define (effective) solutions.

ii) The tools and technologies such as virtual helmets, glasses, and smart devices could be too expensive for the individual user.

Debailleux, Hismans & Duroisin; 2018; Castagnetti, Giannini & Rivola, 2017; Battad & Si, 2016; Bruno et al., 2016; Bohlin & Brandt, 2014; Neuhofer, Buhalis & Ladkin, 2014←289 | 290→

Tab. 2: The challenges in nuclear education, nuclear information, and nuclear technologies used within most popular scientific fields and educational settings

Concepts

Scientific fields

Challenges

Sample

Springer Link

Scopus

Taylor & Francis

ACM

research

Nuclear education

Education, computer science

Nuclear literacy

Politics and international relations, education, humanities

Culture heritage

The gap between technology and learning methods: difficult integration of technological advances into teaching; a

Volpe & Kühn, 2017; Nakamura, 2016; Ahn et al., 2015; Liu & Xia, 2014

Nuclear information

Nuclear energy, nuclear power plants

An open society, technological ecosystems

danger that mature educational technologies and methods might not give an adequate answer to the demands and needs of society.i)

Tsubokura, Kitamura & Yoshida, 2018; Carson, 2018; Wang et al., 2017; Nakamura, 2016; García-Peñalvo et al., 2015; Ahn et al., 2015

Nuclear technologies

Nuclear engineering, personnel training, nuclear reactors, waste repositories

Human factors in computing systems, the security of information and networks, software engineering, advanced computing

Lack of information and initial knowledge to understand complex nuclear solutions.

Gan & Yang, 2017; Salmani-Ghabeshi et al., 2016; Ramchurn et al., 2016

Educational Gaming to Explore and Analyze Real-Life Issues

A variety of educational text-based materials, virtual games, and apps exist online for raising nuclear awareness and atom literacy. For example, ANSTO – one of Australia’s largest public research organizations, internationally recognized players in the field of nuclear science and technology – runs a portal for business, education, and public science (ANSTO, 2019). The portal operates in the English language, thus making it accessible not only to the local reader, but also to the international audience. This portal contains general facts about nuclear science, radiation, radioisotopes, synchrotron light, and managing waste. In ANSTO, nuclear energy experts and professionals create and share educational materials. The educational and informational texts are specially adapted to different target groups: primary, secondary, tertiary education, and materials for teachers. For primary school children, ANSTO offers nuclear competitions such as Shorebirds in Botany Bay (raising awareness of the plight of endangered shorebirds in specific territories and local habitats that are important for shorebirds and other organisms) or Top Coder (mobile technology, coding, computer programming, and robotics in collaboratively environments). These educational activities stimulate thinking, develop a creative personality, and shape passionate involvement in problem-solving. For primary school children, educational activities are live and are only advertised online in ANSTO portal. For the secondary school children, workbooks and datasets are provided. These workbooks and datasets can be used in formal classes of science, chemistry, physics, or biology. Additionally, electronic workbooks can serve as required learning materials accompanying ←290 | 291→a live school excursion to the laboratories of Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organization. The workbooks are freely downloadable online. The exercises in the workbooks are divided into topics. Standard question types are used, such as calculated simple and multichoice, essay, description, typing, matching, gap-fill, and others. An example of the workbook is presented in Fig. 7.

Fig. 7:An example of hands-on nuclear science workbook for secondary school children (7 to 10 years old), which could be used during a live class excursion to ANSTO (extracted from ANSTO files, 2019)

In addition to workbooks and datasets, secondary school children and their teachers can virtually meet nuclear experts and participate in videoconferencing sessions. During these sessions, students plan and investigate ←291 | 292→their first physical or chemical experiments. Virtual access to high-quality radioactive sources, instruments, and scientific expertise are provided. Videoconferences last 45 minutes (a traditional lecture time) and need to be ordered in advance. During virtual sessions, students can ask questions, discuss their nuclear education-related experiments and receive expert feedback. A piece of special equipment for measuring and detection, radioactive sources and objects, and radiation shielding or similar tools are needed for experimenting. The practical training can only be done live in class under the teacher’s or instructor’s supervision. For tertiary education, early carrier programs are provided. Furthermore, ANSTO offers different virtual reality, mobile and online games, and apps to discover the world of nuclear science. For example, children can explore how much radioactivity it is possible to absorb in daily life, learn about health protection, the periodic table, and the atom building.

Dalton Nuclear Institute at the University of Manchester virtually shares tools, games, and information sources about nuclear energy. In their case, the educational materials are created by the University scientists and their students. Some of the tools, such as Energy card games or Nuclear energy paper fortune tellers, are offline. Others, such as Nuclear Reactor Simulator, are available online.

High tech educational applications, such as dynamic modeling, simulation, and 3D visualizations, are available to download from companies, experts, and individuals. For example, Nuclear is a 3D serious game that dynamically models an interactive atom and teaches the periodic table, Atoms – educational logic quiz. Nuclear inc 2 (nuclear power plant simulator) is a serious game that not only teaches how the nuclear reaction works and how the energy of nuclear fuel is converted into electricity, but also educates how to protect yourself and your family against radiation, and explains the causes of nuclear accidents, such as Chernobyl or Fukushima. This app is available in four different languages, has a storyline, and different levels of game difficulty. Another type of application, for example, Augmented nuclear plants, contains educational materials in the form of text, pictures, and augmented reality models, which can be used not only informally, but also in formal education classes (Tab. 3).←292 | 293→

Tab. 3: The list of freely available nuclear educational apps and games

No.

Name

Target learners

Description (purpose)

Creator

Platform

Tests & quizzes

1

How radioactive are you?

Children

Online self-evaluation test

ANSTO

Online at

http://howradioactiveami.com/

2

The Brain Challenge Quiz

Children

Online quiz. Could be combined with online Nuclear Reactor Simulator

Dalton Nuclear Institute

Online at http://www.dalton.manchester.ac.uk/connect/learn/brain-challenge/

3

Atoms

Family

2D puzzle

Elvista Media Solutions Corp.

Android

4

Augmented nuclear plants

Formal and informal learners

An introduction to nuclear reaction, fission and fusion lesson, and assignments to students

M. Chardine

Android

Serious games

1

Half-life hero

Children

Teaching about nuclear medicine and industrial isotopes, and their benefits to society

ANSTO

Online at https://archive.ansto.gov.au/static/halflifehero/

iOS

2

Elementals

Children, teachers

Learning the Periodic Table, supporting science education in the classroom and practicing on the go.

ANSTO

Online at https://archive.ansto.gov.au/elementals/

Android, iOS

3

Nuclear

Family

Learning about each of the elements of the periodic table by constructing a stable version of that element.

Escapist Games

iOS

4

Atom Builder

Children, teachers

Discovering the uses and properties of common isotopes, locating elements in the periodic table.

ANSTO

Online at https://archive.ansto.gov.au/static/atombuilder/ ←293 | 294→

5

Nuclear Inc 2

Family

Serious game, teaching and training the basics of managing a nuclear reactor and a nuclear power plant in general.

Lomakin Dmitrij (ru. Ломакин Дмитрий)

Android

The use of simulations and serious games in learning is growing. While the theoretical benefits of digital games for formal and informal teaching and learning are constantly being studied, there is still not a big choice of mobile apps that inform and develop atom literacy.

Virtually Enhanced Touring to Engage and Interact with New Knowledge

As stated in Yung & Khoo-Lattimore (2019), Oculus (https://www.oculus.com/), Sony (https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/explore/playstation-vr/), Samsung (http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/gear-vr/), Google (https://vr.google.com/), HTC (https://www.vive.com), and Microsoft (https://www.microsoft.com/en-cy/hololens) have unveiled virtual and augmented reality products to the mass market. The virtual reality tour to ANSTO’s OPAL multipurpose reactor helps to discover how things happen on the atomic scale. Although virtual reality becomes more and more popular, it requires special VR helmets, glasses, and other devices. Because of that, 2D and 3D virtual tours remain popular. For example, Nuclear Reactor Simulator or Nuclear Power Plant Simulator is an “old fashioned” 2D simulator, developing nuclear literacy among various age audiences (Tab. 4).←294 | 295→

Tab. 4: The list of popular freely available nuclear education tours and simulators

No.

Name

Target learners

Description

Creator

Platform

Online guiding

Touristic route

1

ANSTO VR

Family

VR tour inside Australia’s OPAL multi-purpose reactor

ANSTO

Android, iOS

Voice, text

yes

2

Nuclear Reactor Simulator

Learners, teachers

2D nuclear reactor simulator

Dalton Nuclear Institute

Online at http://www.dalton.manchester.ac.uk/connect/learn/nrs/

Voice

no

3

Power Plant Engineering

Formal and informal classes and individual learners

Handbook of Power Plant Engineering, covering reference materials and digital book

Softonic

Android

text

no

4

Nuclear Power Plant Simulator

Family

The goal is to produce enough electricity to light up the entire city without causing a dreaded nuclear power plant meltdown.

Majik Mike Simulators

Online at http://www.nuclearpowersimulator.com/

text

no

5

Nuclear Power Plants

Family

The description of nuclear power plants from all around the world

Kirill Sidorov

Android

text

no

The virtually enhanced tourism is becoming very popular, but our research has shown that there are only a few freely accessible technology-enhanced atom tourism routes. To stimulate learning, these routes not only need to have elements of experiences, but also be co-created together with teachers, instructors, and other learners. The researched concepts and technological solutions are presented in Tab. 5.

Tab. 5: Concepts and most popular technological solutions for virtual nuclear education

Concepts

Technological solutions

Challenges

Virtual reality solutions

Online games, game apps

It is difficult for the user to accept immersive experiences and feeling of presence; a new level of interaction achieved through all human senses

Virtual tour technologies

VR/AR tours, simulators, navigation using text, voice, maps, and GPS data

Challenges with virtual reality hardware – mobility, freedom of movement, speedy internet, data security

Nuclear education

Educational apps, online tests, online quizzes, online puzzles, digital books, online games, game apps, VR/AR tours, and simulators

Challenges with high-quality educational apps - expensive to build, quality graphics, much advertising in free apps, convincing teachers to use informal education classes, assessment, and evaluation of learning results and achievements

Nuclear information

Online tours, mobile apps, 360 and panorama videos

Some learners find it difficult to immerse into virtual activities, they experience a disconnection between online presence and live behavior

Nuclear technologies

Complex calculations, modeling, VR/AR tours

Lack of nuclear staffing able to produce virtual materials for specialists, not all scientific material is freely available on the internet

While playing serious games and traveling virtual journeys, formal and non-formal learners can enhance their nuclear education. They can learn from digital books and educational apps and self-virtually evaluate their advancement with tests, quizzes, puzzles, and similar techniques. Virtual and augmented reality tours, and online and mobile games are gaining popularity. Digital text and voice guiding help players to navigate virtual routes. Through these technological solutions, online tours and mobile apps are developed. In passive instruction-based learning (Anderson, 2008), the learner acts only as ←295 | 296→an absorber of information materials, and the teacher provides the knowledge reflected only in digital books and digital guiding using online text solutions. In our research, we concentrate on learning which takes a more active form of acquiring and accumulating knowledge. The learner himself or herself decides what information he or she needs, chooses to learn formally or informally, collects online information, constructs knowledge, and formulates the meaning of the given material. Internet and smart technologies enhance the learning experience. For example, an online self-evaluation test “How radioactive you are?” explains natural radiation (using text, images), shows practical examples (with photos, images, videos), and allows the learner to self-evaluate (using an interactive test). In this example, all the phases of Kolb’s experiential learning theory (e.g. Kolb, 1984; Kolb, Boyatzis & Mainemelis, 2001) are supported. Interactivity is created by providing a variety of teaching and learning contents and enabling the learner to decide what content to choose or which path to follow. For instance, when examining augmented nuclear plants, the learner observes online materials, conceptualizes and plans the ←296 | 297→new virtual experiments, practices and self-evaluates on the net, and can make new observations. A similar search of experience was observed in technology-enhanced tourism (Neuhofer, Buhalis & Ladkin, 2014). In their analysis of technology as an enhancer of experience, these authors described two competing experiential learning scenarios. In the first scenario, technology was an integral part of the co-construction of the tourism experience. In the second scenario, technology played a complementary role in acquiring a tourist experience (ibid.). Our framework falls into the first scenario, manifesting contemporary technology as an active co-creator of nuclear education virtual experiences.

One of the biggest challenges to encourage learners to actively co-create knowledge is that of engaging students. Serious games can provide such motivating and engaging learning experiences (Kiili, 2005). In serious games, learning is explained as a cyclic process through direct immersive experience and problem-solving in the game world: permanent action and continuous practices (ibid.). For example, in ANSTO serious games Half-life hero, the player is a scientist who must solve real-life problems, manage the nuclear reactor, and save his country from a catastrophe. For this, a quick reaction to decision-making is necessary. The time-based element of gameplay provides a challenging, yet rewarding mechanism for players of all skill levels, while the game’s quirky design appeals to kids and adults alike. In this serious game, real-life problems are presented in a fun and attractive way, which creates an immersive experience. For Kiili (2005), an experiential gaming model is based on three theories: experiential learning theory (Moon, 2013), flow theory (Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi, 2009), and game design. In our study, the serious games part is a siding of nuclear education that is explained from experiential learning lenses (as in Kiili’s), adding immersion and problem-solving.

Geolocation Technologies of Virtual Tours Development

Geolocation is a technology that uses data acquired from an individual’s computer or mobile device to identify or describe the user’s actual physical location (Kapoun, 2016). Geolocation technology collects two types of data. It is important to gather information about the learner or their device and the data server. Data correlation and cross-references are then performed to produce the most accurate result. (Estes, 2016). In virtual nuclear education, it is very important to explain not only the physics or benefits of the atom to man and nature but also to visually show the specific locations associated with the atom (uranium ore mines, nuclear power plant construction sites, other specific locations). Exploration of the modern nuclear world and the history of an atom can be ←297 | 298→done in two ways. Firstly, it is possible to travel and participate in a guided tour or visit science and technology museum exhibitions. When learning about an atom, this method is not always appropriate. Even dormant uranium ore mines or nuclear power plants do not usually allow visitors to come because of special security reasons. Secondly, an individual learner could virtually reach the desired place of the world, while sitting at home or school in front of a computer or smart device and exploring nuclear history, culture, peculiarities of hard-to-reach countries, places, and spaces. This method is especially useful when visiting sensitive areas or remote objects. Widespread Google tools, free online services, and products allow teachers and their students not only to reach atom-related sites but to create their personal virtual tours and itineraries without special programming skills. Examples of such tools are Google Maps (google.com/maps), Earth (google.com/earth), Tour Builder (tourbuilder.withgoogle.com), Tour Creator (arvr.google.com/tourcreator), and others. Teachers can use these tools in their lessons of geography, physics or history, designing teaching materials, and presenting active tasks to learners. These tools help develop not only learner’s nuclear literacy, but general abilities, such as learning to learn, creativity, or communication.

Gorelick et al. (2017) studied Google Earth Engine “as a cloud-based platform for planetary-scale geospatial analysis that brings Google’s massive computational capabilities to bear on a variety of high-impact societal issues including deforestation, drought, disaster, disease, food security, water management, climate monitoring and environmental protection” (p. 18). With Google Earth or Google Maps tools, learners can explore any place on the world map. Earth Studio (google.com/earth/studio) is an animation tool for Google Earth’s satellite and 3D imagery. This tool help educators to record and explain lessons with animated videos and 3D pictures. Audiovisual materials could be linked to a specific location or place in the world. When developing interactive online assignments with these tools, educators can apply integrated materials to nature, humanities, or STEM lessons. Investigating how children accomplish place in everyday lives, Danby et al. (2016) showed examples how to teach preschool children geography and social interaction with Google Earth tool. This tool helped researchers recognizing children’s competence to manipulate their social and digital worlds. Investigating to what extent the implementation of a Google Earth-based science curriculum increased students’ understanding of nature structures, developing scientific reasoning abilities, and constructing science identity, Blank et al. (2016) discussed that students, who applied geospatial technologies in their learning, developed not only specific knowledge of earth understanding, but their science identity, and science reasoning.←298 | 299→

Geolocation storytelling creates an interactive, and emotional, connection to learning, engaging such skills as curiosity, critical thinking, empathy, and in some instances, a call to action. In order to make educational stories easier to understand for learners of all ages, researchers recommend that it be presented in the form of static and dynamic images, not just text. Currently, the most popular forms of presenting this type of material are images, videos, infographics, and charts. By creating a variety of video materials, educators expect learners’ engagement and motivation to increase. One of the tools for creating inclusive nuclear teaching materials and geolocation stories is Tour Builder. The Tour Builder was developed for informal sharing and peer-learning of adults and military veterans. Now, this tool is more widely used in formal education and informal classes. Tour Builder could serve as an interactive storytelling tool that connects learners to places using Google Maps and multimedia content. When creating an integrated educational material with Tour Builder, the teacher could explain the history of a specific place or power plant, tell nuclear stories with text, photos, pictures, and video materials. Tour Builder could be used to research the locations of famous scientific discoveries, create a tour of unusual geological features, explain how to spend summer vacation, explore the famous science and technology museums around the country, and virtually participate in physical and chemical reactions or manage nuclear processes. Teachers, sharing their ideas how to creatively use this tool, talk about using Tour Builder for their animal habitats and zoology classes, geographic biomes, explanation of weather and climate, social science lectures of indigenous people, and language studies. The possibilities of Tour Builder application are limited only by educator’s imagination. Learners could use the tool to tell and share nuclear stories and personal experiences. They could link telling with a specific location on the map (Fig. 8).

Fig. 8:TourBuilder story gallery

Tour Creator allows educators to create 360-degree virtual tours and gamified scenes. To enhance their tours, educators could add audio recordings to scenes and link them with the specific place on Google map. The educational material created by this tool can be linked to virtual tours or exhibitions inside and outside museums and science and technology centers. Virtual educational tours could be embedded on educational website, virtual learning environment, blog, or social network. Tour Creator can be used creatively for analyzing any educational material and developing active tasks and assignments. For example, in a nuclear biology lesson, it is possible to create a virtual tour of the human eye – to observe the physiological and medical structure of the eye, the essential biological functions, and other topics (Fig. 9).←299 | 300→

Fig. 9:Teaching and learning materials for nuclear biology classes created with the Tour Creator ←300 | 301→

The Google Expeditions (edu.google.com/products/vr-ar/expeditions) tool lets teachers combine virtual reality content and supporting learning material into one collection. Such an expedition or virtual tour can be installed not only on a computer but also on any smart device of a teacher or student. The tool allows teachers, along with their students, to visit virtually anywhere in the world: visit the most famous science and technology museums, observe complex or dangerous technical processes and reactions, earth and space, mountains and the ocean, and more. Teachers, who are experts in using Tour Creation technology say that the Google Expeditions app for mobile allows educators to guide tours with students following along. This application permits the teacher to keep students at the same pace while they discuss different scenes as a class. With the Expeditions app, classrooms have no boundaries. Davis and Schmutz (2019) presented an example, how Google Expeditions could be used to engage school children in the learning process. They provided examples from history, biology, anatomy, and other classes and guided teachers to use virtual reality applications in formal school settings. By presenting practical examples, Davis and Schmutz (2019) motivate educators not only to use pre-made entries in the Google Expeditions program, but also to create their virtual educational tours, and to make their virtual reality tours with a 360° camera.

GeoGuessr tool (geoguessr.com) lets individuals to create maps of places they visited and link these places to Google Maps. Learners could explore the places, play educational geolocation games, and perform teacher-created assignments (Fig. 10).

Fig. 10:A snippet of the GeoGuessr Tool web site ←301 | 302→

In GeoGuessr, learners could browse and create maps, guess the geographic coordinates of specific places, and play geolocation games. The tool can be used in history, literature, or integrated lessons. Also, the tool can be used for individual or group educational activities. Girgin (2017) presented an example of GeoGuessr use in geography classes. These researchers found that all learners who participated in GeoGuessr activities during geography lessons enjoyed game-based learning. A lot of them gave positive impressions about the game. While playing, they gained map reading skills, learned geography-related content and grew to solve problems by reasoning competence. Scholars argued that GeoGuessr learners reach to information and were motivated to study by themselves.

TheTrueSize (thetruesize.com), Landlines (lines.chromeexperiments.com) and Time-lapse (earthengine.google.com/timelapse) tools help you understand history, imagine the size of learner country, teach geography, national peculiarities of the country or region, and help learners to conduct geo-experiments on the area or place. The GeoGreeting tool (geogreeting.com) can be used for integrated language learning. With this tool, learners can send aerial imagery messages from Google Earth and associate foreign language learning with the history and geography of a particular country. The tool allows a learner to enter a message of up to 40 characters and email or share a link. When a learner receives such a message, he or she is associated with a particular place in the world.

Teachers can use Space (google.com/maps/space) or AccessMars (accessmars.withgoogle.com) tools to illustrate the physical and geographical structure and location of our planet in the Solar system. These tools use the latest NASA data, maps, and images, 360 videos and audio materials. In this way, students are introduced to the latest scientific achievements. Learning with tools motivate them to explore the world (Fig. 11).

Fig. 11:A snippet of Space and AccessMars tools

These tools can be used for project-based learning. The creative use of tools in formal and informal settings stimulates students’ curiosity and encourages exploration.

In this section, we have reviewed only some of the educational tools that can be used for virtual nuclear tour development. The attractiveness of tools is enhanced by the fact that they are freely accessible to all, can be used in formal and non-formal learning, and teaching with these tools requires only basic skills of internet or smart device usage. All these tools can be easily applied in virtual nuclear education.←302 | 303→

Discussion and Conclusions

This mapping review illustrates the complex nature of virtual reality solutions and virtual tour technologies applicable to online nuclear education, nuclear information, and nuclear technology studies covering topics of empirical scientific research, online, and smart solutions. Experiential learning tools, such as serious games and virtual tours, contribute to teaching while playing. Virtual and augmented reality gaming, going beyond the edges of the real world, occupy different areas, including education. It provides immersive experiences, an advanced level of interaction and augmented serious content. Five main senses, such as sight (visual), sound, touch (tactile feedback), smell, and taste, are activated during VR activities. The technology acceptance model and the plethora of its modifications (e.g. Lee & Lehto, 2013; Marangunić & Granic, 2015) look for an answer to the question – what causes people to accept or reject information technology? (Davis, 1989, p. 320). In our research, we join this discussion (see “accepting technologies” part in Fig. 1). The answers may ←303 | 304→be the perceived ease of use, the permanent availability, the perceived usefulness, the task-technology fit, content richness, vividness, and other dimensions. Ibrahim, Khalil, and Jaafar (2011) added to this: enjoyment, performance anticipation, and effort expectancy and gaming experience. Nuclear education tours and simulators, for example, ANSTO’s VR tour inside Australia’s OPAL multi-purpose reactor, are an unforgettable virtual or augmented journey that allows us to explore science and make personal discoveries. The key determinants in such tours are ease of use, permanent virtual availability, immersion, fun, guiding, challenging, and raising curiosity (see Fig. 2).

The digital guides help to create virtual educational experiences by interpreting events, organizing activities, explaining places, accommodating spaces, managing time, telling stories, and co-constructing knowledge. According to Bohlin and Brandt (2014), digital guides rest on two pillars. These pillars are technology (hardware and software) and narrative (the story and the way it is composed and delivered to the learner). The first pillar – digital guiding – was significant for the virtual tours and serious games to instruct the learning process, to tell the story, navigate, explain, motivate, and encourage (Battad & Si, 2016). In the virtual tours, directions, roads, do’s and don’ts, rules, instructions, helps, additional text, and audio information can be provided. In serious games and virtual tours, virtual guiding informs, helps to experiment, observes, gains knowledge and develops skills, solves educational tasks, challenges, and conceptualize (see Fig. 2). For the virtual guiding, one technical aspect that is not widely discussed in the literature is GPS functionality. In the investigated nuclear touring examples, this was not implemented, although it is becoming popular in modern tours. The second main pillar described in Bohlin and Brandt (2014) – the virtual narrative construction to inform and educate – has been minimally explored in empirical scientific articles. Although in online materials such information was not provided, either, in this case, the contacts of experts who can give more information to the teachers were identified.

Using the tools described in this section, students acquire and develop these competences: critically read, interpret cartographic and other visualizations in different media (interpretation); be aware of geographic information and its representation through GI and GIS (learning about); visually communicate geographic information (produce); describe and use examples of GI applications in daily life and in society (applying); use (freely available) GI interfaces (use); carry out own (primary) data capture (produce or gathering); be able to identify and evaluate (secondary) data (use or evaluate); examine interrelationships (analyze); extract new insight from analysis (produce); and reflect and act with knowledge (action: decision making and applying in real world) (Zwartjes & Torres, 2019).←304 | 305→

Limitations

Since virtual and augmented reality technologies are becoming more and more popular, it is important to note that today’s virtual and augmented reality solutions are still limited. Newer applications transform virtual and augmented reality into content for the virtual spaces, simulations, and 360 videos. Although technological solutions are getting more accessible to the average consumer, special glasses, hand-mounted displays, sensors, or cameras are still needed for fully immersive experiences. Virtual and augmented reality is motivating, and most of the young generation of learners have a positive attitude towards modern technologies, which are exciting, challenging, and allow to interact, create, and manipulate in virtual environments (Domingo & Bradley, 2018). However, some studies of adult learners reported the lack of AR/VR awareness because of unwillingness to accept virtual substitutes (see Challenges part in Tab. 1 and Tab. 4).

While proposing serious games and tours for virtual nuclear education, we can observe certain limitations. In nuclear education settings (formal and informal), these technologies are mainly adapted to the young generation of learners, having positive attitudes to educational technology – to the learners who accept technology. Research shows that not all the students, called digital natives, are competent in using technologies in educational environments. In addition, it is crucial to present the teaching material in a clear, understandable, and attractive way, considering the age and initial preparation of the learner. The biggest challenge is not only to create virtual materials on nuclear education in the text format, but also, together with computer scientists and engineers, to develop virtual narrative, immersive games, simulation apps, and other types of virtual reality solutions. The challenge for nuclear technology researchers remains the communication of scientific information in a learner-friendly format. Having this in mind, the joint forces of academic staff and technology professionals – actively involved in creating virtual learning scenarios, nuclear education, and information materials – are needed to maximize learning benefits.

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