CSU researcher explores utilizing digital actuality in building administration schooling
The students go through a bridge model in VR and try to identify errors.
Through both exercises, Olbina not only helps students gain a deeper understanding of the building process, but also evaluates the teaching value of using VR. For her research goal, she hopes to find out if VR can help students better identify problems in projects compared to other visualization tools such as two-dimensional drawings.
“We always want to improve students’ learning,” said Olbina. “The construction manager training is really about understanding problems and solving them. Hopefully, when students visualize better, they can understand better. “
Value of VR in Construction Management Education
As equipment costs decrease and schools have better access to technology, VR is playing an increasingly important role in classrooms across the country. In particular, it has the potential to redesign the training for construction managers.
Construction management is a highly visual industry that requires understanding complex spatial relationships. Most of the time, however, students learn using traditional two-dimensional drawings. Olbina finds this approach challenging for many CM students.
Olbina teaches students how to use VR.
“With two-dimensional drawings, you have to be very experienced or talented to visualize a building based on its floor plans, sections and views,” said Olbina. “With virtual reality, you can quickly get an idea of what the building will look like after construction.”
While creating a 3D model of a building or construction site is very helpful, viewing the model on the two-dimensional computer screen does not allow for complete visualization. However, virtual reality allows students to step into a design and interact with it just as they would if they actually went through it in real life.
A new frontier
While the market for VR applications as a new technology is growing rapidly, it has yet to enter the construction industry or teaching on a large scale. With his many opportunities, Olbina is confident that this could be the next big leap.
“Sometimes the industry is ahead of us, but sometimes they look to us to provide cutting-edge education,” said Olbina. “If our students are exposed to VR at school, they could drive changes in the industry in the future.”
The Department of Construction Management is part of the CSU College of Health and Human Sciences.