Science lab safety goes immersive: An ecological media-comparison study with gender analyses assessing iVR’s learning effectiveness

Prajakt Pande, Per Meyer Jepsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We conducted a media-comparison study in ecologically valid settings to understand immersive virtual reality’s (iVR’s) instructional effectiveness in a university science course. We tested how complementing regular science lab safety instruction with interactive iVR simulation, desktop simulation, or the re-viewingof a text-heavy manual compare with each other in terms of knowledge-related and affective learning outcomes.We also explored gender differences in the outcomes across theseinstructional conditions. 102 undergraduates (51 females) were randomly assigned to one of the instructional conditions. Throughout the one-day course, all students received the same set of instructions, demonstrations, and hands-on lab safety training except for the following: the iVR group engaged with HMD-based interactive lab safety iVR training simulation; the desktop group interacted with the same simulation on a laptop, whereas the remaining group re-viewed the text-heavy course materialin detail. Topic knowledge-relatedand self-report affective data were collected before and immediately after the course. Statistical analyses revealed that: (i) all three instructional modes helped students gain significant lab safety knowledge, (ii) there were several significant between-group differences in multiple affective measures, and (iii) the instructional modes affected/benefited the two genders considerably differently. Besides extending previous findings, the strong ecological grounding of our results adds important insights into real-life implications of integrating different media in undergraduate education. Our gender-related findings merely scratch the surface on the complex issue of “designing for diversity”, inviting scaled-up efforts to develop more equitable technology-enhanced science learning settings to address the cognitive-affective needs of different genders and other diversities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2025

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