international Virtual Environments Research Group

Since 2010

Dr. Michael Vallance

Ed.D, MSc., BSc(Hons), PGCE

keywords: Information science (情報アーキテクチャ学科), Oculus; Unity; LabView; LEGO; Mindstorms; Japan; Wales; collaboration; communication; futures; simulation; virtual


Engineering virtual reality for real learning.

JSPS kakenhi no. 18K02940 (AY2018 ~ 2021)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Michael Vallance EdD., MSc., BSc(Hons), PGCE


The Research hypothesis: Learning performance in a 3D virtual world is significantly increased when virtual activities are synchronized with real-world outcomes.

Significance of the research: This research will determine quantitative metrics of learning thereby enabling education and industry to appropriate virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) technologies.

Scenario 1. Robot Mediated Interactions (RMI) via the Oculus Rift headset recovering illegally dumped radioactive bins in a simulated Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Scenario 2: Remote monitoring of a solar plant's sensor data via a 3D virtual simulation to determine maintenance requirements.  


A disaster simulation has been designed in Unity 3D and viewed via Oculus Rift and Go. In this immersive 3D space, students must use a robot to locate radioactive bins. Declarative, procedural and meta-cognitive knowledge are being researched.


Students are remotely located so communicate in our OpenSim 3D virtual space. Students in UK can control our LEGO EV3 robots in our Japan lab by manouvering the virtual robot in the 3D space. Our research is concerned with remote collaboration.


Task metrics are determined by Circuit Task Complexity and Robot Task Complexity. The TKF model is used for task designs: Tsukutte つくって (Create) – Katatte かたって (Share) –  Furikaeru ふりかえる (Reflect).


Dr. Michael Vallance is a Professor in the Department of Media Architecture (previously Director of the Center for Meta-Learning - CML) at Future University, Japan. He has a Doctorate in Education from Durham University, a Masters Degree in Computer Assisted Learning from Stirling University, UK, and a BSc(Hons) Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Wales, UK.


In 2017 Michael's students won 3rd prize for their Unity game at the European Conference on Game-based Learning, Graz, Austria. In 2012 Michael was awarded second place  in the GameTech Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge by the USA Department of Defense (DoD), Florida, USA.


International collaboration and inter-disciplinary cooperation are essential for success in 21st century education.

JAPAN: Future University Hakodate (公立はこだて未来大学)

Dept: Dept. of Media Architecture (情報アーキテクチャ学科)

BRITAIN: University of Hull.

Dept: Centre for Educational Studies

BRITAIN: University of South Wales.

Dept: Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Virtual Fukushima Dai'ichi nuclear power plant

USA: Appalachian State University.

Dept: Leadership & Education Studies