The conventional classroom does not seem to adequately address the gender disparity in technology education. This could negatively affect the contributions of the female gender to national development. There was a need to advance a setting that enhances the participation of women in technology education.
This study evaluated desktop Virtual Reality (VR) to know whether it enhances equal academic achievement and learning interests of female and male students.
Materials and Methods
A toss of a coin was used to divide the six universities into two major groups; three universities were taught with ElectricVlab, while the other three universities were taught in the conventional classroom. Each of the six intact classes sat in clusters of five students and the whole class was taught the construction of an audio amplifier together using a demonstration method of teaching. A Vocational Interest scale and a researcher-made achievement test with reliability coefficient=0.89 were used for data collection. Two-way Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) was used to analyse means and test hypotheses at a 0.05 level of significance.
The study found no significant difference between the mean achievement and interests of female and male students in the VR group. There was a significant interaction effect between gender and teaching environment. This study predicts that VR could bring women up to the same level of interest and achievement as men, but conventional classroom methods could not.
Curriculum planners should consider piloting virtual reality to enhance gender-fair education, as it shows initial promise in the teaching of electronic technology education. Virtual reality for teaching and learning can be a part of postgraduate studies in universities, especially in academic fields where virtual reality has been found effective. This study may guide other studies and add to available literature.
What is already known about this topic?
Enrolment of females in electronics technology education has been lower than that of males.
Academic achievement of females in electronics technology education was lower than their male counterparts.
Virtual reality has been used to improve teaching and learning in some educational fields, but it was not effective in some other fields.
Some researchers used virtual reality to augment inadequate learning facilities.
The evaluation of educational virtual reality applications might have primarily focused on the usability of the apps instead of learning outcomes.
Gender gaps in human capital development are well-documented, but it seems more evidence is required on how best to close those gaps.
What this paper adds?
Suggest a potential learning environment for reducing the gender disparity in the achievement and interest of electronics technology students.
Further contributions to the area of a learning environment in the teaching and learning process.
This may be a piece of additional research-based evidence on how best to close gender disparity in technology education.
A virtual reality learning environment might bring female students up to the same levels of academic achievement as men, but the conventional classroom setting cannot.
There could be a significant interaction effect between gender and the learning environment in the teaching and learning of electronic technology education.
Implications for practice and/or policy
Curriculum planners might consider piloting virtual reality for reducing gender imbalance and enhancing gender-fair technology education, as it shows initial promise in the teaching of electronic technology education.
Virtual reality may be adopted to augment learning facilities in electronic technology education in universities, especially in laboratory practices.
Budgets for funding universities could include resources for virtual reality equipment.
The use of virtual reality for teaching and learning can be a part of postgraduate studies in universities, especially in academic fields where virtual reality has been found effective and competence in VR should be considered for the employment of technology education lecturers and support staff in higher institutions.
This study may guide other studies and add to the available literature.