The mission of the Center for VR Learning Innovation (CVRL) is to advance interdisciplinary research and innovation at SMU in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and game-based learning (GBL) for education, health and human development. In addition, the Center supports digital learning with mixed reality, virtual coaching, and interactive learning design for research and online and hybrid courses in Simmons.

The Center provides infrastructure for interdisciplinary research in this signature area for Simmons and SMU. We collaborate with faculty and students across SMU, including ongoing strategic collaboration with SMU Guildhall, the Institute for Leadership Impact, and the AT&T Center for Virtualization, as well as with other universities including King’s College, UNC Chapel Hill, UT Dallas, and UT Southwestern

The Center explores educational interactions in immersive augmented and virtual reality environments using commercially available technologies. The recent release of affordable AR and VR commercial technologies have provided opportunities for global audiences that did not previously have access to this technology for costly simulations and other immersive learning experiences.

Our research focuses on practical applications of the latest AR and VR technologies to address global problems in education and human development. It is sometimes necessary to develop new games, prototypes, techniques, or algorithms to address key research questions so we also engage in design-based research focusing on new ways to produce educational AR and VR simulations and games when necessary.


The Center includes two Teaching and Research Labs in Harold Clark Simmons Hall.

The Olamaie Curtiss Graney VR Design Lab

Design Lab naming ceremony with Provost Currall, President Turner, Mrs. Olamaie Fojtasek, Mr. Randall S. Fojtasek, and Dr. Paige Ware.

The Graney VR Design Lab provides AR and VR technology and space for research and development collaboration. The focus in this lab is on the design of innovative VR, AR and game-based learning prototypes for research proposals. This lab also provides a teaching space for Educational Technology courses and other technology courses related to the mission of the lab.


The Mixed-reality Simulation Lab

Mixed-reality instructional space, looking south.

The Mixed-reality Simulation Lab provides a space for students to practice their skills in a mixed-reality classroom with simulated students or other virtual meetings for parent conferences and interactions with other adult avatars. This lab provides a safe environment to learn and grow with real-time coaching and without placing real people at risk.


Research and Development

The Center for VR Learning Innovation Research and Development programs fall under four strategic areas:

  1. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality for STEM Collaborative Learning
  2. Virtual Reality in Medical Education and VR Surgery Simulations
  3. Mixed Reality for Education
  4. Game-based Learning Literacy Applications

Principal Faculty Members

The Center for VR Learning Innovation Research and Development programs align with faculty members across Simmons School, including:

  1. Eric Bing
  2. Corey Brady
  3. Tony Cuevas (Center Director)
  4. Lin Lin Lipsmeyer
  5. Prajakt Pande
  6. Anthony Petrosino
  7. Kelsey Schenck
  8. Candace Walkington
  9. Paige Ware