Longitudinal Effectiveness of Immersive VR Simulations and their Video Playbacks for Undergraduate Learning: Lessons from a media comparison study

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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 3 interventions), while the video group watched a pre-recorded video of the respective simulation on a laptop. Cognitive and affective data were collected through the following checkpoints: a pre-test before the 1st 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 two 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 found in 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
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2021


  • Virtual Reality
  • longitudinal
  • Science Education
  • Higher Education
  • Educational Technology

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