Does WOW! translate to an A? A comparative study of VR-based learning in higher education

Congratulations to Yoana (previously a BSc Business Computing student and now on our MSc programme), for having a paper accepted by IEEE VR 2018, a leading conference on 3D and virtual reality research!

Yoana’s research is centred around a simple but fundamental question: Does the “WOW!” effect of VR contribute much if anything to students’ learning outcomes in a higher education setup? While VR is increasingly adopted by primary/secondary schools in the UK to improve the pupils” engagement with learning materials as part of the STE(A)M initiatives, it is unclear how the technology would and could impact the learning of hard sciences in university. Yoana conducted a comparative study on students’ performance in a standardised assessment when course content is delivered using VR and conventional lecture slides. Interestingly, students see VR as a great platform to isolate them from real-world distractions but the extra cognitive load brought by VR content has a detrimental impact on how the learners recognising/memorising important quantitative data. We also concluded that social interaction and tailored productivity tools are two main factors that underpin the exploitation of VR in HE.

Slavova, Y. and Mu, M., A Comparative Study of the Learning Outcomes and Experience of VR in Education, to appear in Proceedings of the 25th IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR 2018), Germany, 05/2018

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