Empathetic Skills through Virtual Reality: A New Frontier in Emotional Training

Hui Ching Weng, Liang Yun Huang, Wen Yen Lin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

In contemporary education systems, there is an increasing emphasis on cultivating students' empathy as a core component of emotional intelligence that plays a crucial role in social interactions and cognitive development. Traditional educational methods have their limitations in fostering empathy, leading to exploring the potential and effectiveness of integrating Virtual Reality (VR) technology with artistic creation in developing empathy for university students. We adopted a teaching approach combining VR with artistic creation to provide an immersive experience to help students understand and experience the emotions of others. Students learned art creation in a VR-simulated environment and experienced various emotional states. University students participated in a general education course on art therapy. They engaged in a one-day workshop of VR art creation intervention, using Open Brush to create artworks in the VR environment that reflected specific emotional states or social situations. The impact of the art therapy course on students' physical and mental state was assessed using empathy scales and a brief questionnaire. The result showed that there was no significant improvement in empathy skills for the participants but there was generally positive feedback on using VR as a medium for learning art therapy. The participants felt that the VR environment provided a free and innovative space to explore and express emotions. VR technology offers a novel and immersive platform for artistic creation, enhancing students' involvement in art activities and helping them handle stress and emotional distress better. In the VR environment, students could express their feelings and thoughts more freely and safely, especially regarding real-life situations. This visual and interactive VR experience provided a new way for emotional release and self-exploration, positively impacting their mental health. The findings suggested that VR offers a new approach to broadening the scope of emotional education and empathy development. Through experiential learning in practice, students can explore and understand emotions in a safe and controlled environment, significantly benefiting their physical and mental health development. With the continual advancement, VR technology is anticipated to play a larger role in education, particularly in cultivating emotional intelligence and in artistic therapy creation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2024 IEEE 7th Eurasian Conference on Educational Innovation
Subtitle of host publicationEducational Innovations and Emerging Technologies, ECEI 2024
EditorsTeen-Hang Meen
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages171-175
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9798350307207
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Event7th IEEE Eurasian Conference on Educational Innovation, ECEI 2024 - Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: 2024 Jan 262024 Jan 28

Publication series

Name2024 IEEE 7th Eurasian Conference on Educational Innovation: Educational Innovations and Emerging Technologies, ECEI 2024

Conference

Conference7th IEEE Eurasian Conference on Educational Innovation, ECEI 2024
Country/TerritoryThailand
CityBangkok
Period24-01-2624-01-28

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Media Technology
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Education

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