A faculty at Lagos Business School (LBS), Dr. Eugene Ohu, has won a grant of $234,000 from Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc (TWCF) to conduct a two-year virtual reality research.
The research project titled “Teaching Children Empathy and Compassion through Virtual Reality Games” will explore the potentials of virtual reality (VR) for character development.
The grant was awarded under TWCF’s Global Innovations for Character Development (GICD) initiative.
Dr Ohu runs a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Lab at Lagos Business School, where he explores the implications of the immersive, interactive and perspective-taking characteristics of technologies like computers, mobile devices and virtual reality (VR) for character development, learning, behaviour modification, wellbeing and productivity.
The TWCF funded two-year intervention and research project seeks ways to grow the character traits of empathy and compassion in a diverse society like Nigeria, where there are multiple expressions of religious, cultural, social and economic identities. Targeting an initial group of teenagers, who make up more than 60 percent of Nigeria’s population, the study hopes to explore the perspective-taking capabilities of VR to increase understanding for the identities of others different from ourselves.
Speaking on the research project, Dr Ohu said “It will be an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience where teenagers take the perspectives of ethnic groups different from theirs, to appreciate their identity and share in their sufferings. We also hope to train teachers at the study schools on the new VR teaching models, so as to incorporate them into the Civics and Social Studies curriculum of secondary schools”
Immersive VR are computer-generated environments where users experience a digital version of the real world where they can interact with objects and other people. It offers an opportunity to create a more personalised and engaging experience for learners.
Dr Ohu added, “Although VR is fun, my research collaborators and I have broader and more ambitious goals which should see a greater deployment of VR in teaching, learning and development at all stages of a person’s life. I particularly want to see it deployed as a complementary learning resource in training at the Lagos Business School”.
Virtual Reality is considered by many to be the biggest thing after the internet, and its use is predicted to increase in the coming years. It is therefore imperative that stakeholders in character development and education take steps to understand the benefits of VR, and beyond academics, to teaching cultural competencies in today’s interconnected, global society.
What you should know about Lagos Business School
Lagos Business School (LBS) is the graduate business school of Pan-Atlantic University, owned by the Pan-Atlantic University Foundation (PAUF), a non-profit foundation registered in Nigeria.
LBS offers academic programmes, executive programmes and short courses (customised to specific company needs, as well as open-enrolment courses) in management. LBS’ objective is to develop responsible leaders who are solving Africa’s social and institutional business problems.
Its offerings have been accredited globally and ranked among the best in Africa, as it systematically strives to improve the practice of management on the continent.
LBS has been ranked every year since 2007 by the Financial Times of London, among the top global providers of open enrolment executive education and in custom executive education since 2015. The latter ranked number one in Africa on the 2020 Financial Times list.
The School is listed among the top 50 global business schools on The Economist magazine’s 2018 Executive MBA ranking.