Examining Apparel Design students’ self- efficacy and willingness towards using Virtual Reality in the design process

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Binhajib, Aseel
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McKinney, Ellen
Eike, Rachel
Tsai, Chin-Hsun
Beecher, Constance
Shelley, Mack
Committee Member
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Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management
Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging technology in garment design that has demonstrated promising results in student achievement (Wyss et al., 2014). Studies that have investigated the value of VR have shown that it positively affects student creativity (Yang et al., 2018), student engagement levels (Kennedy, 2019), and learning motivation (Wyss et al., 2014). Although these positive outcomes are acknowledged, little attention has been given to understanding students’ self-efficacy and willingness to adopt VR in garment design. For example, understanding both self-efficacy and willingness to adopt VR are related to students’ learning motivations (Dinther et al., 2011; Wyss et al., 2014). Furthermore, developing educational plans based on students’ confidence is related to their willingness to adopt a technology (Svenningsson et al., 2021). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine both students’ willingness to adopt VR during the design process and their self-efficacy level when adopting VR as a sketching tool in the design process. A multiple case studies design was used to analyze the views and interactions of eight undergraduate Apparel Design participants who explored the use of VR during the idea-generation stage of the apparel design process. Student selection was linked to an Apparel Design course in which students engage in the apparel design process and had acquired several skills in fashion sketches and technology software. This ensured that all potential participants possessed a similar skill range. Measures of individual students’ “willingness to adopt VR” data were collected using a scale based on the UTAUT framework. In addition, several open-ended questions were included to determine the type of facilitating conditions students preferred when using VR. The variables for “willingness to adopt VR” were: 1) performance expectancy, 2) effort expectancy, 3) perceived enjoyment, 4) facilitating conditions, and 5) social influence. The data for examining self-efficacy were derived by means of a self-efficacy scale and open-ended questions. The data helped determine self-efficacy levels when using VR and the factors that impacted those levels. The variables for self-efficacy were: 1) previous experience, 2) psychological responses, 3) social modeling, and 4) performance accomplishment. The investigation compared research propositions with the findings by employing a pattern matching analysis technique. Findings show that the eight Apparel Design students evaluated their self-efficacy level as medium or high. Factors impacting self-efficacy levels were similar for both self-efficacy levels, and they supported findings reported in the literature. Student “willingness to adopt VR” did not show a specific pattern in VR performance expectancy and effort expectancy. However, based on student scores there might be a descriptive pattern between the variables for perceived enjoyment, social influence and facilitating conditions, yet not statistically significant given the small sample size. Types of facilitating conditions favorable for VR use were listed to provide educators with factors to consider when adopting VR in the design process. The findings were reported in two manuscripts: one that covered self-efficacy, and one in another that covered students’ willingness to adopt VR.