Innovative Immersive Technologies for Learning - IMTEL

Research group

Innovative Immersive Technologies for Learning - IMTEL

Collage of three pictures of people using VR equipment. Photo.

Technology-enhanced learning as a field of research and practice increasingly operates in the intersection between the computer sciences, the humanities and the social sciences. Interdisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity or multidisciplinarity becomes necessary prerequisites for research on innovative learning technologies. IMTEL is based on the idea of bringing various types of competence and interests together. Today, an increasing proportion of dissemination, presentation, communication and collaboration will occur through ICT-mediated channels. The on-going digital transformation represents a challenge for the education system and captures the tension between tradition and innovation. This applies to both the students' expectations for education and training and the teaching staff. At the same time, the onset of the 4th Industrial Revolution (‘Industry 4.0’) imposes new demands on Western economies that must achieve a dramatic increase in the number of highly-qualified and -skilled workers in order to stay competitive. These challenges will be met with innovative technologies for learning developed in close proximity to the field of practice.  

Examples of such technologies, immersive technologies, as an umbrella term for virtual, augmented reality and mixed reality (VR/AR/MR), have had an explosive development in recent years and opens great opportunities in the context of education. Hardware and software are becoming more available and affordable. As learning environments, these technologies afford immersive and explorative learning spaces, well suited for developing high-impact pedagogies. These include:

  • "Risk free" and realistic enactment and training in risky environments, e.g. exploring Chernobyl, outer space, war zones, sea deep and emergency sites in VR
  • Simulation based pedagogies, e.g. 3D visualizations and simulations in a virtual lab or operating room.
  • Training of collaborative skills (in distance as well as on-site training) where students can work together in custom-made work areas such as virtual hospitals or labs.
  • Professional training programs, e.g. performance augmentation and skills acquisition with AR

IMTEL group researches innovative immersive technologies for learning in several contexts, ranging from university education to emergency and medical training and workplace training. The group has founded and actively uses ‘Lifelong learning’ VR lab that is now a part of the NTNU VRlab network connecting NTNU campuses in Trondheim, Gjøvik and Ålesund with innovative VR learning spaces. The lab is a top-modern and unique research facility devoted to educational immersive technologies without equal in Norway. The lab serves as a hub for cross-disciplinary research activities, including students and researchers from IT, Teacher education, Geography, Music, Psychology, Cybernetics, Medicine and other disciplines. The group collaborates actively with representatives for industry and public sector, including NAV, local schools, maritime industry, local IT companies, as well as leading European universities such as Oxford Brookes University.

Selected on-going and past projects

  • Innovation days. IMTEL research group will organize a series of innovation days and workshops in 2018-2019. The events will contribute to competence development in the VR Lab NTNU and promote cross-disciplinary research (2018-2019)
  • VIRSAM: Virtual arenas in medical education, grant Norwegian Research Council FINNUT program, (2017-2020), in collaboration with MH
  • Virtual workplace training in VR/AR (Virtuelle praksisplasser), grant by Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (2017-2018)
  • Active Learning Module for Emergency Management Professionals using Virtual Reality, grant by Norgesuniversitetet (2016-2018)
  • VRLab NTNU (building a network of VR labs across NTNU campuses, ongoing), grant by NTNU Property division
  • TARGET (grant FP7 Large-scale integrating project (IP), ICT-2007.4.3: Digital Libraries and Technology-Enhanced Learning): Serious games for transformative, adaptive, responsive and engaging environment for corporate learning, (2009-2012)
  • BioWaveVR, therapy with Virtual Reality and Wearable Technology, in collaboration with St. Olavs and Coperiosenteret, grant by Helse-Midt-Norge (2016-ongoing)
  • CAMO: Cultural Awareness in Military Operations, Norwegian Armed Forces (2011-2012)
  • Extended Realities (ER). A joint initiative to gather XR research and innovation at NTNU and SINTEF.

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