Immersive virtual reality in an industrial design education context: What the future looks like according to its educators

Nuno Bernardo*, Emilia Duarte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents and discusses the results of a future forecast study involving Higher Education educators from the field of industrial design and neighbouring. Participants were asked to imagine teaching and learning situations twenty years ahead, in a future where Virtual Reality (VR) technology and the design studio are harmoniously integrated. The aim was to project how the maturation of the technology and possible subsequent widespread adoption could affect design activity and design studio dynamics. While answering an online questionnaire, participants had to hypothesise uses or applications of the technology, the potential consequential behaviours derived from it and broader implications. Their answers hint at six areas where the technology is relevant to design. Behaviour wise, they envision students more engaged in research and creation, demonstrating a deeper level of knowledge over the variables influencing their projects and a proneness for collaborative or cooperative work. This change in dynamics contrasts with more cautious views who discern that a growing digital footprint weakens the relation with materials and sensibility development towards medium and process. These, combined with a lesser amount of real-world interactions, are perceived as undermining student maturity or growth. All of these and more hint at implications in the design process, pedagogy, curriculum, teacher and student dynamics and role repositioning, showing that integrating VR may have ramifications stretching far beyond the design studio context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-255
Number of pages18
JournalComputer-Aided Design and Applications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Design education
  • Design tools
  • Industrial design
  • Virtual reality

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