Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

PhD Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Shreekanth Mandayam, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Nidhal Bouaynaya, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

John Schmalzel, Ph.D.

Committee Member 3

Amanda Almon, M.F.A, C.M.I.

Committee Member 4

Ying (Gina) Tang, Ph.D.


Assessment, Simulation, Training, Visualization, VR


Virtual reality; Computer-assisted instruction


Electrical and Computer Engineering


A convergence of affordable hardware, current events, and decades of research have advanced virtual reality (VR) from the research lab into the commercial marketplace. Since its inception in the 1960s, and over the next three decades, the technology was portrayed as a rarely used, high-end novelty for special applications. Despite the high cost, applications have expanded into defense, education, manufacturing, and medicine. The promise of VR for entertainment arose in the early 1990's and by 2016 several consumer VR platforms were released. With VR now accessible in the home and the isolationist lifestyle adopted due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, VR is now viewed as a potential tool to enhance remote education. Drawing upon over 17 years of experience across numerous VR applications, this dissertation examines the optimal use of VR technologies in the areas of visualization, simulation, training, education, art, and entertainment. It will be demonstrated that VR is well suited for education and training applications, with modest advantages in simulation. Using this context, the case is made that VR can play a pivotal role in the future of education and training in a globally connected world.