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BIM-enabled virtual reality (VR)-based pedagogical framework in architectural design studios

Aso Hajirasouli (School of Engineering, Design and Built Environment, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia)
Saeed Banihashemi (University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia)
Paul Sanders (Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia)
Farzad Rahimian (Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK) (Department of Engineering, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK)

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment

ISSN: 2046-6099

Article publication date: 28 February 2023

293

Abstract

Purpose

Over the past decade, architecture, construction and engineering (ACE) industries have been evolving from traditional practices into more current, interdisciplinary and technology integrated methods. Intricate digital tools and mobile computing such as computational design, simulation and immersive technologies, have been extensively used for different purposes in this field. Immersive technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have proven to be very advantageous while the research is in its infancy in the field. Therefore, this study aims to develop an immersive pedagogical framework that can create a more engaging teaching and learning environment and enhance students' skill in the ACE field.

Design/methodology/approach

This study developed a BIM-enabled VR-based pedagogical framework for the design studio teaching in architectural courses, using a qualitative approach. A case study method was then used to test and validate this developed framework. Architectural Master Design Studio B, at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) was selected as the case study, with South Bank Corporation (SBC) as the industry partner and stakeholder of this project.

Findings

The practicality and efficiency of this framework was confirmed through increased students' and stakeholders' engagement. Some of the additional outcomes of this digitally enhanced pedagogical framework are as follows: enhanced students' engagement, active participation, collective knowledge construction and increased creativity and motivation.

Research limitations/implications

The results have proven that the developed technology-enhanced and digitally enabled teaching pedagogy and framework can be successfully implemented into architectural design studios. This can bridge the existing gap between the technological advancements in ACE industry and higher education teaching and learning methods and outcomes. It is also expected that such innovative pedagogies will future-proof students' skill set as the future generation of architects and built environment workers. A major limitation of this framework is accessibility to the required hardware such as HMD, controllers, high-capacity computers and so on. Although the required software is widely accessible, particularly through universities licencing, the required hardware is yet to be readily and widely available and accessible.

Practical implications

The result of this study can be implemented in the architectural design studios and other ACE related classrooms in higher educations. This can bridge the existing gap between the technological advancements in ACE industry, and higher education teaching and learning methods and outcomes. It is also expected that such innovative pedagogies will future-proof students' skill set.

Social implications

Such technology-enhanced teaching methods have proven to enhance students' engagement, active participation, collective knowledge construction and increased creativity and motivation.

Originality/value

Despite the advancement of digital technologies in ACE industry, the application of such technologies and tools in higher education context are not yet completely explored and still scarce. Besides, there is still a significant gap in the body of knowledge about developing teaching methods and established pedagogies that embrace the usage of such technologies in the design and architecture curricula.

Keywords

Citation

Hajirasouli, A., Banihashemi, S., Sanders, P. and Rahimian, F. (2023), "BIM-enabled virtual reality (VR)-based pedagogical framework in architectural design studios", Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/SASBE-07-2022-0149

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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