A New Approach to Virtual Reality in History Education: The Digital Oral Histories for Reconciliation Project (DOHR)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



History Education, Virtual Reality, Teaching and Learning, Reconciliation, Relationality, Historical Thinking, Historical Empathy, Oral History, Digital History, Virtual Reality Design, Difficult History


In this chapter we propose a new approach for designing virtual environments (VEs) that has the potential to make important contributions to teaching and learning history. We briefly outline the history of VR and define key terms and concepts. We describe three types of history-focused VEs, digital historical games, 3D historical reconstructions, and interactive storytelling, and discuss the opportunities and challenges they offer for history teaching and learning in terms of learning, accessibility, historical thinking, and historical empathy. In the final section, we describe the Digital Oral History for Reconciliation (DOHR) curriculum and virtual learning environment (VLE) that was created to promote relationality and historical empathy. We describe a new approach to designing curriculum-specific VLEs that offers several potential benefits for teaching and learning history and the design of interactive storytelling VLEs.