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Extended reality (XR) virtual simulation in aerospace education

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
Author: Rout, James
Augmented reality (AR) can be used to present holographic visual displays of objects and information that are overlaid in a user's real-world field of view. A mixed- methods experimental study was undertaken to examine the effects of using an augmented reality (AR) simulation of an AS350 helicopter rotor in an Aerospace Maintenance Engineering program. A custom-built AR software application ("Holocopter") was designed to demonstrate the flight dynamics of the AS350, and this study examined its affordances to support their learning and engagement in a laboratory context. The primary objective of the research was to understand how the implementation of an augmented reality virtual simulation might impact conceptual understanding of helicopter rotor flight dynamics, as well as users' cognitive load and their engagement with the AR application. Two instructors and 18 students volunteered as participants, and the students were randomly assigned to conditions. In both conditions students experienced an instructor-led lab after previous formal instruction about rotary wing flight dynamics. In the control condition students experienced an instructor-led demonstration of a physical AS350 helicopter rotor, while in the experimental condition students experienced the AR simulation of the rotor. No significant difference was found between the conditions with respect to the conceptual understanding achieved by students. However, engagement with AR resulted in a reduction to cognitive load and enhanced stimulation. The study has implications for practice, suggesting that AR technologies can be a valuable supplement but may not fully replace hands-on applied learning in aerospace maintenance engineering. Further, technical challenges and the need for proper training and support for instructors should be addressed to ensure successful implementation.
145 pages.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: O'Neill, Kevin
Member of collection
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