© 2017 — Virtual Reality for Education

VR Field Trips / Tours

  • Digital Media in Archaeological Areas, Virtual Reality, Authenticity and Hyper-Tourist Gaze

  • Designing a Virtual Field Trip Summary

  • Virtual experiences for secondary science teaching.  Summary

  • Virtual field trips: Alternatives to actual field tripsSummary

Summaries of Research Papers


Placing, K., & Fernandez, A. (2001). Virtual experiences for secondary science teaching. Australian Science Teachers Journal, 48(1), 40-42. Retrieved from Proquest.

The article discusses different types of virtual experiences but also has a very important distinction about them: virtual experiences are for extending and enhancing learning, not for replacing “real-life” experiences. In this case, the virtual experiences are virtual field trips and virtual geology digs. The authors argue not to replace actual field trips with these computer-based trips because nothing (yet!) immerses the student in an environment more than being in the actual environment. However, as a supplemental and parallel learning tool, virtual experiences can greatly enhance the educational quality and engagement of a science curriculum.
The article, while relatively short, has quite a few resources listed for biology and geology educators. Though the resources may be dated they still hold valuable learning structures and may link to more current research.


Tuthill, G., & Klemm, E. B. (2002). Virtual field trips: Alternatives to actual field trips. International Journal of Instructional Media, 29(4), 453–468.

Tuthill and Klemm summarize the advantages and disadvantages of taking virtual field trips over real field trips. They emphasize the point that virtual field trips can be very effective as pre- or post-discussions when bracketing real-world field trips.

With respect to virtual field trips, does VR have anything to add to the experience? Tuthill and Klemm mention that the  “total experience” is something that is lost in a simple virtual field trip. VR takes another step towards the “total experience” where you get at least a 3D 360 degree visual experience. It still does not address the olfactory or physical senses but that may not be too far in the future.


Lacina, J. G. (2004). Designing a Virtual Field Trip. Childhood Education, 80(4), 221–222.

Virtual field trips should not completely replace actual field trips. In fact, they are best used as pre- or post-trip activities where students can be guided and given background knowledge. Virtual field trips also require much planning and prep and it is highly recommended that teachers go several virtual trips of their own before planning a class one.