Theses and Dissertations


Youngwoo Cho

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Clary, Renee M.

Committee Member

Ambinakudige, Shrinidhi S.

Committee Member

Dash, Padmanava

Committee Member

Schmitz, Darrel W.

Committee Member

Walker, Ryan

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 1 year

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


The geology learning environments in college generally fall into three categories: learning based on lectures, field excursions, and laboratory activities. Engaging students in these environments and developing their interest, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving ability have always been challenging in college geology education. This research developed virtual learning methodology and integrated it into traditional geology education to achieve active learning in order to engage students in the learning process. Virtual geology learning tools (VGLTs), high-resolution virtual representation of geologic objects and/or the realistic virtual 3D environment embedded with real-world terrains and animated photorealistic game objects, are the outcome of the effort. VGLTs were integrated into different college geology learning environments and were tested for their effectiveness. The primary finding of this study is that integrating VGLTs into traditional college geology education was affirmed by geology professionals and non-professionals as being helpful in creating effective learning environments that can facilitate the active learning of students in both formal and informal educational settings. VGLTs helped address students’ needs in many aspects of college geology education by utilizing interactive and realistic virtual technologies. VGLTs are important because they can help address different aspects of traditional college geology learning, increasing the versatility and integrity of virtual learning in tandem with traditional learning. However, VGLTs should not replace learning in the physical environment since geology is a discipline that aims to increase our understanding of the physical world.



Active learning||College geology education||Digital visualization technology||Virtual field trips||Virtual geology learning||Virtual reality