Head-mounted display-based virtual reality systems in engineering education: A review of recent research

Wen Huang, Rod D. Roscoe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Engineering education refers to developing an understanding of the principles, methods, and ways of thinking that underlie engineering, and preparing students and engineers for productive engineering careers. The purpose of this review is to explore how head-mounted display-based virtual reality (HMD VR) can contribute to these goals. Historically, engineering has not been a focus for VR in education. However, recent technical advances and decreasing prices are driving a growing public interest in applying HMD VR in this field. This article reviews 47 publications on this topic, primarily appearing from 2015 to May of 2020. The literature reveals that engineering researchers and instructors have broadly explored the potential of HMD VR in organized engineering instruction and training. However, rigorous evaluation appears to be somewhat lacking in the reviewed research, and most studies are conducted in a small-scale laboratory setting. Nonetheless, HMD VR seems to be able to motivate students to learn and it is perceived to be useful in engineering education. Researchers are recommended to explore the methods of using HMD VR to facilitate lifelong learning, especially for the retraining and re-employment of engineers who seek to change careers or collaborate with researchers in different disciplines. Engineering instructors may benefit from professional development that focuses on student-centered pedagogies and skills attuned to the latest HMD VR systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1420-1435
Number of pages16
JournalComputer Applications in Engineering Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • HMD VR
  • engineering education
  • head-mounted display
  • instruction
  • learning
  • virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education
  • General Engineering


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