After going through all the research thoroughly, I decided to make a VR based online learning platform that could enhance both the traditional learning as well as the MOOC learning experience. The first thing about any experience is, it should feel Human and what could be more human than the nostalgic High School doors.

So, I decided to make a virtual Space where as soon as you put on a VR headset you see a few classroom doors, that have course names written on it. You walk to door with the subject you like (as you would do in a real school) and as soon as you enter it, there is an interactive 3D simulation of an object — like a V8 engine, for the Anatomy of an engine class or a virtual space — like for a World War lesson in a history class, you could see the war as a 3rd person by walking in a virtual environment and interacting with objects inside.

Another problem I needed to solve was, the instant questions. So I came up with a tagging questions concept. If you were interacting with a 3D object, let’s say a V8 engine and you have a question about power transmission, you can tag the question to a specific spot on the engine and the question is visible and can be answered by your instructor as well as other peers that come after you into the virtual space. Thus by using crowdsourcing we could increase the efficiency and decrease the time taken for answers. As this is an online platform and most students like to keep notes, I created a button of Virtual Notes on the the top of each class session that whenever clicked, records your activity and questions in the virtual environment and can be accessed later.

This worked great for lab sessions and boring courses, but there were some courses that students felt were best studied in physical classrooms from the top universities, but for the top universities it’s not feasible accommodate every student on this planet who is interested in learning a specific subject from the best professor. So I decided to add a section called, Live Courses.

The concept behind live courses is to place a 360 camera in an ongoing class and stream it in real time through webVR on the platform itself. Also, for asking questions, students can type in their question and it appears on the professor’s computer in real time— like comments on a live Facebook video.

Low fidelity Sketches

First sketches of portal’s concept

High fidelity Prototype

Moving forward I converted my low-fidelity sketches into high fidelity 2D prototype in Adobe XD, just for the sake of better understanding of the flow.

The Nostalgic high school door concept, to make the space feel more human
A 3D simulation of a V8 engine to understand better by interacting with it
The Question Tagging and virtual notes recording mechanism
An example of what live classrooms would look like

Clickable Prototype

You can also play around with the prototype linked below

After Thoughts

The entire point of taking this project in the first place was, I wanted to change the way we look at every physical classroom on this planet and revolutionize it for a better immersive learning experience. It could help students get hang of anything, from any place at any time, leaving behind the constraints of books and 2-dimensional spaces. By making more creative content and the hardware easier to understand, we can make conceivable a dream for a completely adequate virtual university for the future. Someday.

Working on The Portal has been truly a roller-coaster ride and a great learning experience. I would like to thank my psychology professor Dr. Sumitava Mukherjee for all guidance and the questions he asked in the classroom that lead to the birth of ideas like The Portal.

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