Needs Assessment

Virtual Immersive Environments (VIEs) have a unique potential to engage learners and provide interactive and immersive experiences that can improve learning outcomes. However, creating effective lesson plans in VIE requires careful planning and a deep understanding of the learners' needs. Careful planning begins with a Needs assessment as it helps to identify the gaps in learners' knowledge and skills and to design instructional interventions that address those gaps.

Different methods for conducting needs assessments in VIE include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observation, depending on the context, the target audience, and the instructional content. For example, a survey might be appropriate for a large group of learners, while a focus group might be more suitable for a smaller and more diverse group. 

Observation might be used to identify the learners' behavior in the VIE and their interactions with the environment and other learners. Interviews can provide more detailed information about learners' preferences and motivations. When conducting a needs assessment in VIE, we need to ensure that the assessment is aligned with the instructional design goals. For instance, if the goal is to create a VIE to teach a particular skill, the needs assessment should identify the learners' existing knowledge and skills related to that skill and any misconceptions or gaps in their understanding. The needs assessment should also explore the learners' preferences and interests in the VIE context, as these can impact engagement and motivation.

Another important consideration when conducting a needs assessment in VIE is to involve stakeholders in the process. This can include learners, subject matter experts, instructional designers, and VIE developers. Stakeholder involvement can help to ensure that the needs assessment is comprehensive and reflects the needs and interests of all parties involved. It can also help identify potential obstacles to successful implementation and develop strategies to address them.

Once the needs assessment is completed, the results should be analyzed to identify the gaps and needs of the learners. This information can then be used to develop learning objectives, which provide a clear understanding of what learners are expected to know or be able to do at the end of the instruction. The learning objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

In summary, conducting a needs assessment in VIE is important in developing effective instructional interventions. The assessment should be aligned with the instructional design goals, involve stakeholders, and provide specific and measurable learning objectives. By following these principles, instructional designers can create engaging and effective VIE experiences that address the learners' needs and improve learning outcomes.

Some recent studies have explored the effectiveness of needs assessment in the context of VIE. For instance, a study investigated the use of needs assessment in developing a VIE for a nursing program. The study found that needs assessment effectively identified the learners' needs and preferences, which led to developing a VIE that was engaging and effective in promoting learning (Jeong & Lim, 2022). Another study explored needs assessment in developing a VIE for teaching nursing students. The study found that needs assessment helped identify the learners' existing knowledge and skills and develop learning objectives relevant to their needs. The VIE developed based on these findings effectively improved the learners' knowledge and skills (Gupta et al., 2023).

Overall, these studies suggest that needs assessment is an effective approach for developing VIEs that are engaging and effective in promoting learning outcomes. By carefully analyzing the learners' needs and preferences, instructional designers can develop VIEs that provide immersive and interactive learning experiences that improve learning outcomes.


Gupta, S., Wilcocks, K., Matava, C., Wiegelmann, J., Kaustov, L., & Alam, F. (2023). Creating a Successful Virtual Reality–Based Medical Simulation Environment: Tutorial. JMIR Medical Education, 9, e41090.

Jeong, E., & Lim, J. (2022). An Analysis of Priorities in Developing Virtual Reality Programs for Core Nursing Skills: Cross-sectional Descriptive Study Using the Borich Needs Assessment Model and Locus for Focus Model. JMIR Serious Games, 10(4), e38988.

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