An Immersive Fold Instruction Module for Training Undergraduate Geologists

Cael A Gallagher, Mackenzie E Muir, David Conroy, Ross Andrew Brown, Christoph Eckart Schrank, Selen Türkay

Session: Nature and the Home - Thursday 2022-12-01 13:30-15:00 AEDT
Late Breaking Work and Case Studies Track
In-Person Presentation


Representation of 3D structures in rocks is inherent to the study of geology. However, these are rarely visible in nature. This poses a significant challenge for undergraduate students as it affects their understanding of how to measure, analyse, and interpret complex 3D structures. Geoscience education currently relies on the use of two-dimensional media to represent 3D structures within rock. This demonstrates a gap which could be addressed using Virtual Reality (VR). This paper presents a novel tool for the visualisation of geological folds; wave-like undulations of layered rock. With the help of a preliminary interview study, contextual inquiries, and the continued involvement of a subject-matter expert, we have begun development of an instructional module on geological folds using our novel fold visualisation tool. We conducted usability testing with naïve users, undergraduate geology students, and the subject-matter expert. Future iterations of the tool and module will involve a plethora of working examples that students can use to learn terminology, practice measurements, and develop their interpretive skills of complex 3D-geometries.