Virtual reality in welding training and education: A literature review
Keywords:virtual environments, agricultural education, agricultural mechanics, welding education, blended learning, virtual welding
The welding workforce is facing a deficit of skilled welders, highlighting the need to develop more efficient and effective welding training methods. Virtual reality (VR) technologies have been adopted to create VR welding simulations for educational and training purposes. The purpose of this literature review was to collect and analyze peer-reviewed research, published between 2012-2022, regarding VR technology applications in welding training. The concept of Engagement in Blended Learning Environments served as our research framework. In the context of welding, VR welding training is a relatively new approach that functions as a blended learning environment. During data collection, we identified 31 articles; however, following analysis and coding, 13 were excluded, for a final N=18. Through a process of triangulation, we identified themes across existing research to highlight trends, recommendations for real-world welding practice, and recommendations for future research. Four main research themes emerged from the literature: 1. Comparison of Approaches, 2. VR as a Teaching Tool, 3. System Development, and 4. System Testing. Six future research recommendations were identified and grouped, including the recommendation to compare virtual weld performances to live weld performances. Four practitioner-based recommendation themes were identified, including the recommendation for instructors to develop their own knowledge and skills related to VR welding technology. From this review, we identified gaps in the existing literature and made recommendations for future research on VR welding training.