Long-term effectiveness of immersive vr simulations in undergraduate science learning: Lessons from a media-comparison study

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Abstract

Our main goal was to investigate if and how using multiple immersive virtual reality (iVR) simulations and their video playback, in a science course, affects student learning over time. We conducted a longitudinal study, in ecological settings, at an undergraduate field-course on three topics in environmental biology. Twenty-eight undergraduates were randomly assigned to either an iVR-interaction group or a video-viewing group. During the field-course, the iVR group interacted with a head-mounted device-based iVR simulation related to each topic (i.e. total three interventions), while the video group watched a pre-recorded video of the respec-tive simulation on a laptop. Cognitive and affective data were collected through the following checkpoints: a pre-test before the first intervention, one topic-specific post-test immediately after each intervention, a final post-test towards the end of the course, and a longitudinal post-test deployed approximately 2 months after the course. Through a descriptive analysis, it was found that student performance on the knowledge tests increased considerably over time for the iVR group but remained unchanged for the video group. While no within-or between-group differences were noted for intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy measures, students in the iVR group enjoyed all the simulations, and perceived themselves to benefit from those simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2482
JournalResearch in Learning Technology
Volume29
Issue number29
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
ISSN2156-7069
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Educational technology
  • Higher education
  • Longitudinal
  • Science education
  • Virtual reality

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