Walden University’s online library includes 104 databases, 199,297 Ebooks, 67,749 full-text journals, and 3,841,002 dissertations (Walden University, 2015). With such a vast repository of literature, it was important to approach the search with an explicit strategy in mind. The initial plan included starting from a broad perspective and then narrowing down to specific topics such as VR and safety training. The literature search began as a review of the “Database by Subject” listing with “Education” as the identified subject.
19 The initial database used was the “Education Research Starters” to attain a listing of introductory literature on four themes: VR-based training, instructional design, related theories, and safety training. The search continued with a keyword search of the previously stated themes using the EDITLib, ProQuest Central, Academic Search Complete, and PsycINFO databases. After a general keyword search on virtual reality, instructional design, safety training, behaviorism, constructivism, andexperiential learning, another search was conducted on keyword title phrases such as instructional design, virtual reality-based training, and safety training. After I reviewed the articles, I took notes of the reference listings from each article, with attention to recent studies and those related to the overall goal of this study. Considering the emerging technology of VR, this literature review strategy included a frequent review of literature to identify newly published articles for possible inclusion. Conceptual Framework The usage of the term theory in the context of conceptual framework is intended in a nonstandard context. Theory in this literature review is used more to provide explanation of the practical application of instructional design during the development process. I also used prior research to help identify keywords, patterns, and themes (see Maxwell, 2013). There are many instructional designers who lack the theoretical knowledge to effectively apply evidence-based instructional strategies to the courses they design (Ertmer & Newby, 2013).
20 Instructional designers must not only understand or describe how learning occurs, but also prescribe the appropriate instructional strategy to ensure learning has occurred (Ertmer & Newby, 2013). Instructional design, as an interdisciplinary field, draws theory from psychology, science, sociology, and education (Smith & Ragan, 2005). The primary types of theory used in instructional design are descriptive learning theories and prescriptive instructional theories (Smith & Ragan, 2005). Descriptive theory involves how learning occurs, and prescriptive theories offer methods that increase learning (Driscoll, 2005). There have emerged seven primary instructional design theoretical contributions in the field: behavioral learning theory (Skinner, 1987), information processing theory (Miller G. A., 1956), Gagné’s (1995/1996) theory of instruction, general systems theory (Banathy, 1992), cognitive load theory (Sweller, van Merrienboer, & Paas, 1998), situated learning theory (Lave & Wenger, 1991), and constructivism (Merrill, 1992). Thus, theoretical research in instructional design spans from 1956 to the