From PowerPoint presentation to immersive virtual tour: A pedagogy first approach to redesigning teaching using technology

Published by UCLan Centre for Collaborative Learning on

Author: Laura Ward, Senior eLearning Developer, UCLan

Academic SME: Bob Gallagher, School of Natural Sciences (Forensics)

As with many eLearning projects it starts with a teaching and learning challenge. In this case two sides of the same situation:

  1. The need to teach first year Forensic students about the practical processes and identification of evidence collection in a realistic environment, with only one timetabled session to do so. The forensic houses cannot fit in a class of students at one time (around 20 students per class), so a more creative solution needed to be figured out on how to work around this before the students go in for practical sessions in smaller groups.
  2. Update needed of the legacy resources. The previous work around was a PowerPoint which had been quickly put together as a last minute, temporary fix but had become a more permanent, if not the best, solution as changes in Academic staff and module changes occurred.

I class legacy resources as the resources handed down from one tutor who ran the module to another, from potentially years ago with very little change to them apart from the bare minimum that’s required (think changes like new terminology and amendments to laws). With change over from modules and sometimes with sudden change overs, this means that academics’ time is limited and resources aren’t developed past their initial iteration, which were meant to be temporary fixes. It is an understandable side effect of unexpected circumstances.

However when an Academic has time to develop a resource past it’s initial iteration and works with an eLearning Developer to push it past what it was originally, the resource can become something that enhances and redesigns the learning.

In this case, Academic Bob Gallagher wanted to change one of the practical sessions from a presentation heavy session to a more interactive one. It was originally delivered as a fairly chalk and talk PowerPoint, going through the motions to show how to collect evidence, slide by slide. Some images below:

Bob worked with the eLearning Team to redesign how the session was done with the idea of creating a ‘walk through’ crime scene, looking for evidence which may assist in identifying the offender. The intention was for students to access the package using their own devices.  Redesigning the session from a chalk and talk lecture to a more engaging and active approach, enabling the students to go through the package at their own pace as well as discuss what they learned; which evidence they collected, justification, theoretical and practical knowledge etc.

Technical bit and development (edev):

Using a feedback model method of working a script was created by Bob and the eLearning team, in this case which rooms needed to be filmed, what evidence needed to be collected and how the hotspots were going to work.

The eLearning Developers, myself and Laura Ridings, then filmed the CSI house with the evidence. I then edited and packaged the 360° media into a Virtual Reality tour in the appropriate software, creating the hotspots and interactions for the evidence and making sure to enable the package to be used on any device, for flexibility of use in a headset as well as other devices (tablet, phone, desktop etc).

The first draft link was then sent to Bob to check over and see if there were any amendments. In this case there were elements that needed to be added and amended, including; editing and adjustment of light levels in the living room, editing out pieces of evidence which shouldn’t have been there such as fingerprints on cupboards in the kitchen, extra areas to be filmed outside the house and adjustments to the way in which the evidence hotspots worked.  The amendments occur in the feedback loop when the subject matter expert (in this case Bob) can see how the technology works in a contextualised manner for them.  This enables them to make decisions based on their new knowledge of what is possible, so there are usually minor technical and creative adjustments to accommodate. These adjustments were discussed between the subject matter expert (Bob) and the eLearning Developer leading on the package (myself) to see what can be possible and how best to apply it, both through digital pedagogy and technical ability. In this case adding more areas to the layout as it gave a more comprehensive overview of the environment in and around the house, which hadn’t been thought of previously. Additionally, the hotspots were hidden and would display the information as soon as they were selected.  This was changed to being hidden but with only the photo of the object appearing, then selecting again to show the extra information.  This was change was made as Bob didn’t want the hotspots to be obvious and also didn’t want there to be any red herrings for this activity, as it was to allow for familiarisation of a Crime Scene for the students to identify key points of evidence.

Finally, I filmed those last areas, edited them, added them to the package and made the amendments. The final version was sent out to Bob and signed off to be used in session with his students.  

You can access the package on Immersive Learning Lab Online (accessed on any device which has wi-fi access):

CSI VR Tour Photo Snippets:


Feedback from Bob and his students was that the virtual tour was more professional and more interactive for the students leading to an improved, active learning experience with contextual spatial awareness through the navigation of the VR tour. It also allowed for a more in-depth, detailed and contextualised view of the scenery and environment surrounding the Crime Scene. Definitely a redesign in the way the session was taught, with the technology enhancing the learning and engagement of the students experience from the initial PowerPoint to an immersive Virtual Tour.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay


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