The recent advancement in immersive technologies opens up opportunities for the way individuals perceive and engage with information in public spaces to be innovated. This article discusses a study that investigates the application of Virtual Reality (VR) as an instrument for communicating engineering heritage in museum environments with the aim to enhance visitor experience. The study adopted Shannon’s communication theory as the main principle for contextualising heritage objects within virtual environments. This approach can benefit curators in informing the way the intended meaning, value, and context behind museum artefacts to be delivered through visual narratives and aesthetics. In this study, three VR scenarios have been developed using the Unreal engine to investigate the aspects of learning, interaction, and immersion during the virtual experience. One-way ANOVA approach was used to determine the significant differences between the proposed factors in the study. The study found that the absence of interaction in the immersive scenario reduced the mean score leading to a lack of constructive guidance during navigation. Whereas using Gamified and narrated approaches significantly increased the mean value of the participants compared to the control group. While many researchers argue that the utilisation of VR could improve the users’ level of presence, the study outcomes suggest that there are certain conditions that should be structured during the development process to facilitate better engagement with virtual content. To achieve these conditions, gamification and storytelling strategies have been found to be effective in delivering an interactive immersive experience for engaging with heritage artefacts and contents.
Bibliographical note© 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
- Immersive environments
- Digital heritage
- Museum experience