Taiwanâ€™s vocational wood-furniture schools still focus only on the traditional manual training strategy, and so studentsâ€™ knowledge of the furniture-manufacturing process is fragmented. Moreover, they possess limited manual skills without learning the workflows and strategies of furniture production, which is inadequate for satisfying the direct work demands of the furniture industry overseas. In response, through virtual reality (VR) technology, this study employed simulations of the furniture production lines in a large Vietnamese furniture-manufacturing factory, enabling students to experience and observe the manufacturing process of furniture production through VR to overcome the limitations in the present teaching environment. In doing so, we recruited 29 freshmen majoring in a furniture-and-woodworking program and divided them into an experimental group (N=15) and a control group (N=14). They were trained with actual furniture production-process cases according to the furniture mass-production process, including paper-based tests, equipment configuration re-draws and production planning table writing. The results showed that the students in the experimental VR-training group had superior judgment concerning the concept of batch furniture production line. This indicates that applying VR technology to the vocational training of batch furniture production effectively enhanced the studentsâ€™ familiarity of the fast and dynamic production situation of furniture production lines.
We would like to thank Wei-Zhen Wang, Hsu-Wen Hung, and the students and teaching assistants in the woodworking class, who all assisted and participated in this study. We also wish to extend our gratitude to the teaching resource center of National Taipei University of Technology and MOE Teaching Practice Research Program for providing the development funds for the construction and design of the VR training system. Lastly, we would also like to thank Yu-Ting Lin and Nai-Chin Wan, the provider of the VR system for this teaching experiment.
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s).
Notes on contributor
Dr. I-Jui Lee is a designer, artist and researcher with expertise in ergonomics and design methods, including product design, furniture carpentry, interaction design, and vocational education and training research. His research interests are in the areas of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), tangible user interfaces, humanâ€“computer interaction, computer-supported collaboration and design for children. A central theme of his research is exploring design spaces of novel interactive technologies that support people's needs by expanding ways they perceive, interpret and interact with the physical world.