M. Nowparwar, X. Chen, O. Ashour, S. G. Ozden, and A. Negahban
ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Publication year: 2021

There is a cohesive body of research on the effectiveness of problem-based learning (PBL) for a wide range of learner groups across different disciplines in engineering education. On the other
hand, there is a growing interest in using immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) in engineering education. While there are many literature review articles on each of these subjects
separately, there is a lack of review articles on the application of combined PBL-VR learning environments in engineering education. This paper provides an assessment of the applications
and potential of implementing immersive technologies in a PBL setting to utilize the advantages of both paradigms. More specifically, this paper aims to provide insights related to two main
questions: (1) where (in what disciplines/subjects) PBL and VR have been used together in engineering education? And, (2) how are VR and PBL integrated and used in engineering
education? The first question is investigated by performing a bibliometric analysis of relevant papers published in the proceedings of previous ASEE annual conferences. The second question
is explored by performing a literature review and classification of ASEE papers that discuss the use of VR in conjunction with PBL. Our findings reveal a gap between the application of
integrated PBL and VR across different disciplines in engineering education. We also analyze the trends related to PBL and VR application in engineering education over time. Finally, we
identify and propose future opportunities related to the combination of PBL and immersive technologies, including but not limited to immersive simulation-based learning (ISBL) and
incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into immersive virtual/simulated learning environments used in engineering education.