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  • Writer's pictureRakshita Soni

How Roger William University is making Construction Management Learning fun with Sentio VR?


Roger William University making learning fun

Snapshot


Client Background:

  • Client: Roger Williams University (RWU)

  • Department: Construction Management

  • Interviewee: Anne Anderson, Associate Professor

  • Location: Bristol, Rhode Island, USA


Roger Williams University (RWU), a leading academic institution based in Bristol, Rhode Island, seeks innovative ways to enhance its Construction Management curriculum and improve student engagement. By integrating SENTIO VR into its educational framework, the university made learning immersive and fun while giving students industry-ready skills.

We had an insightful conversation with Anne Anderson, Associate Professor of Construction Management, sharing how using SENTIO VR has transformed the way students visualize models and gain hands-on experience.


Lets dive in deep into this case study and learn more about the challenges faced by RWU and their integration of VR and the outcomes after successful implementation.


Challenges

1. Limited Immersion in 3D models

a) Traditional 2D screens Students had difficulty in visualizing design and spaces as they could only view 3D models on 2D screens using Revit and Navisworks walkthroughs. This method restricted their understanding of spatial relationships and design intent.

"We were just looking at models on a 2D screen. Even though they were technically 3D models, they were just on a 2D screen. They would essentially just do walkthroughs in Revit or Navisworks, and that's pretty much it."

— Anne Anderson, Associate Professor, RWU


b) Identifying design issues

Students faced difficulty in identifying design issues, spatial conflicts and model errors effectively due to limited immersion. Hence, they were unable to gain a comprehensive understanding of scale and positioning of different design elements. 


"Earlier, when we were just looking at models on a 2D screen, students were not able to catch items that were a problem. But when the students walk through their Revit models in VR, it’s amazing how they catch problems because they’re immersed in their models."


2. Lack of exposure to real-world VR workflows

Students had minimal exposure to virtual reality (VR) technology and its application in construction. They also lacked confidence and familiarity in VR tools for effective design reviews, client presentations and collaborative workflows involving multiple stakeholders. 


"What I really want them to learn is what they will be using in the industry. I want them to be comfortable with this technology. SENTIO VR allows them to walk through a model and hold virtual meetings, which they will be doing in the industry."


3. Logistical Constraints on Real Job Site Tours

Physical job site tours required significant travel time and logistical planning. Students missed classes and other academic activities to visit job sites physically.


"Physical job site tours required students to miss classes and travel significant distances. If only we had that job site in VR, then they could have just walked it during class and not had to miss my class to go on a job site tour."


Solutions

Anne and the RWU team found Sentio VR on the Autodesk App Store through a search for VR applications and they chose SENTIO VR due to its simplicity, ease of use, and seamless integration with Autodesk Revit.


Lets look at how they used Sentio VR to solve their challenges.


1. Easily understanding spatial relationships by walking through Revit models immersively

Students were easily able to import Revit models into SENTIO VR using the Revit plugin and walked through them in 1:1 scale. The immersive walkthroughs allowed students to identify spatial conflicts and design issues easily by immersing themselves in the model.


2. Multi user collaboration in classrooms

By using multi-user collaboration, SENTIO VR enabled group discussions and teamwork within the virtual environment, where students practiced real-world virtual meetings and collaboration, gaining familiarity with industry-standard workflows.


Multi user collaboration in classroom
Multi user collaboration in classroom

"I love that we can get multiple people in the same model. It's really helpful for meetings, and students practice real-world virtual collaboration, learning how to walk through a model together in a multi-user setting."


3. An effective suite of Design review tools

Design review tools were the star element for the faculty as well as the students at Roger William University, they used it extensively to identify issues and take feedback in real-time.


Key features liked by RWU:

  a) Hide Elements:

Allowed students to hide specific items to focus on particular design elements, improving quantification and understanding. For instance, students could hide everything except windows to count and measure all 4x4 windows effectively.


b) Measurement Tools:

Students used measurement tools to measure and quantify items like windows, doors, and HVAC elements. They could also verify the dimensions of specific components directly within the VR environment.


4. Virtual job site visits using 360 tours

Students used VR headsets to explore job sites and gain practical exposure to real-world construction workflows. They created virtual job site tours using 360 images, enabling students to explore job sites without the need for travel.


Results

1. Enhanced student engagement

  • Students found the immersive presentations enjoyable and engaging. The immersive environment allowed freshman students to quickly identify spatial conflicts and design issues.

  • Seventh and eighth graders engaged deeply with VR models, gaining early insight into construction management careers. The VR models felt like games, making learning fun while also helping them gain practical experience.


“Learning shouldn’t be just dry lectures and textbooks, it should be more than that. With VR, when you’re immersed in the environment you can see it so much better than just the pictures in the textbook” says Anne from RWU


Education in Immersive environment using Meta Quest 2
Education in Immersive environment using Meta Quest 2

2. Hands on experience in Construction Management Curriculum

  • Students learned how to navigate their models in true-to-scale environments and became confident in measuring and quantifying elements within models, conducting virtual meetings with multiple users.

  • Students also improved their understanding of visualization and spatial relationships which led them to identify potential mistakes and problems which prepared them for real-world industry workflows.


"My undergraduates learned how to navigate models in true-to-scale environments, and they became confident in measuring and quantifying elements within models and conducting virtual meetings. They also improved their understanding of visualization and spatial relationships, which prepared them for real-world industry workflows."


3. No missed classes after using 360 job site visits

By using 360 job site tours, RWU would be able to provide students with real-time experience without physically going to the job site or missing classes, hence saving time and resources.

 

Conclusion

The integration of SENTIO VR into Roger Williams University's Construction Management curriculum shows  power of virtual reality in education. By using immersive Revit walkthroughs, multi-user collaboration, and job site tours, RWU has successfully made learning fun, engaging, and industry-relevant. 


The use of SENTIO VR has given students hands-on experience in navigating models, conducting virtual meetings, and identifying spatial conflicts in true-to-scale environments. This has prepared them with the skills and confidence required for the professional world.


Talk to us today and learn how you can integrate VR for education at your University enhance your institution’s curriculum while making learning fun. 

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