Assistant Professor Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education College of Education
Course(s) Targeted by this Innovation
LESM 360: Sport Event and Facility Management LESM 560: Sport Facilities and Event Management
Purpose and Impact
LESM 360: Sport Event and Facility Management is a required 3-credit course for the B.S. in Sport Management program and covers areas essential for career readiness in this field. LESM 560: Sport Facilities and Event Management is an elective 3-credit course for the M.S. in Sport Management degree. These selected courses provide a wonderful opportunity to incorporate virtual reality in the classroom through practical application of facilities and event-related scenarios that students may find as future facility or event managers. The courses stress highly practical application of principles and concepts in facility and event management across professional, intercollegiate, recreational, and international sport. Of particular note are principles related to event, crowd, and risk management at sport events and venues. Therefore, implementing VR would provide invaluable "near practical" experiences for students through simulations that can be applicable in future real-world scenarios they may encounter. Virtual reality would also be impactful in allowing for more accessible opportunities for students when it comes to things like facility tours. Virtual reality will provide unique opportunities to students that they would otherwise not have had access to.
Description of Innovation
Medrano (2020) noted that in the students’ 3D space “the learning curve with virtual aids is faster and achieves greater and better assimilation of content than traditional teaching tools, mainly because students use almost all their senses in the process of learning a subject” (p. 188). This is what excites me the most as not only is this a unique opportunity for students to learn via a differentiated method of learning, but it has also been shown to allow students to better understand the content studied while providing them access to a virtual reality device that may have not been accessible to them otherwise. Virtual reality has also been used in the context of targeted training, including the use of a virtual environment to teach basketball and “greatly improve the training efficiency of basketball players” (Li, 2018, p. 174). Additionally, the presence of students in a virtual environment “enhances students’ experiential learning and, therefore, is…an essential pedagogical tool” (Asad et al., 2021, p. 1).
Because experiential learning is such a huge part of the sport management program here at NIU, I am excited to utilize virtual reality, through the use of Meta Quest, as a way to enhance experiential learning opportunities within the program, particularly with my sport facility and event management courses. Virtual reality will provide opportunity for invaluable, near practical simulations of facilities and event-related scenarios that students may find as future facility or event managers, including in event, crowd, and risk management at sport events and venues, while also providing more accessible opportunities like virtual facility tours.