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  1. This work presents a Procedural Content Generation (PCG) method based on a Neural Network Reinforcement Learning (RL) approach that generates new environments for Virtual Reality (VR) learning applications. The primary objective of PCG methods is to algorithmically generate new content (e.g., environments, levels) in order to improve user experience. Researchers have started exploring the integration of Machine Learning (ML) algorithms into their PCG methods. These ML approaches help explore the design space and generate new content more efficiently. The capability to provide users with new content has great potential for learning applications. However, these ML algorithms require large datasets to train their generative models. In contrast, RL based methods do not require any training data to be collected a priori since they take advantage of simulation to train their models. Moreover, even though VR has become an emerging technology to engage users, there have been few studies that explore PCG for learning purposes and fewer in the context of VR. Considering these limitations, this work presents a method that generates new VR environments by training an RL in a simulation platform. This PCG method has the potential to maintain users’ engagement over time by presenting them with new environments in VR learning applications. 
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  2. This work introduces a new approach called Connected Learning and Integrated Course Knowledge (CLICK). CLICK is intended to provide an integrative learning experience by leveraging Virtual Reality (VR) technology to help provide a theme to connect and transfer the knowledge of engendering concepts. Integrative learning is described as the process of creating connections between concepts (i.e., skill and knowledge) from different resources and experiences, linking theory and practice, and using a variation of platforms to help students’ understanding. In the CLICK approach, the integration is achieved by VR learning modules that serve as a platform for a common theme and include various challenges and exercises from multiple courses across the IE curriculum. Moreover, the modules will provide an immersive and realistic experience, which the authors hypothesize, will improve how the students relate what they learn in a classroom, to real-life experiences. The goals of the CLICK approach are to (i) provide the needed connection between courses and improve students’ learning, and (ii) provide the needed linkage between theory and practice through a realistic representation of systems using VR. This work presents the results from an initial usability test performed on one of the VR modules. The results from the usability test indicate that participants liked the realism of the VR module. However, there are still some areas for improvement, and future work will focus on assessing the impact of the CLICK approach on students’ learning, motivation, and preparation to be successful engineers, areas which could translate to a STEM pipeline for the future workforce. 
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