Newest Alumnus: Lei Zhang, Ph.D.

February 4, 2022

The 3DI Group happily congratulates Lei Zhang for completing his interdisciplinary Ph.D. dissertation defense on December 1st, 2021. His work, entitled “Investigating Interactivity and Storytelling in Immersive Virtual Reality for Science Education,” concentrated on exploring the use of immersive technology in education. This work was born of his project on Immersive Storytelling.

Here is an abstract of his dissertation:

Immersive and interactive storytelling in virtual reality (VR) is an emerging creative practice that has been thriving in recent years. Educational applications using immersive VR storytelling to explain complex science concepts have very promising pedagogical benefits because on the one hand, storytelling breaks down the complexity of science concepts by bridging them to people’s everyday experiences and familiar cognitive models, and on the other hand, the learning process is further reinforced through rich interactivity provided by the VR experiences. However, it is unclear how different amounts of storytelling and interactivity setup in an interactive VR storytelling experience may affect learning outcomes due to a paucity of literature on educational VR storytelling research. In this dissertation, we explored interactivity and essential storytelling elements in educational VR storytelling experiences and their impact on learning.

We wish Lei a bright future, as he starts his career as a professor at Arkansas Tech University!