Virtual reality for student learning: Understanding individual differences

Ping Li, Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies, Faculty of Humanities, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Jennifer Legault, Alexander Klippel, Jiayan Zhao, Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Geography, The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Geography, The Pennsylvania State University
2020 Human Behaviour and Brain  
Virtual reality (VR) is emerging as a rapidly developing technology that holds significant promises to impact student learning. In this review, we focus on the features of this technology regarding levels of immersion and interac on and individual differences in cogni ve characteris cs of VR learners. We a empt to parse the specific technological features that enable effec ve learning and examine how students mentally process these features. While VR helps to create situated learning condi ons,
more » ... its theore cal significance lies in its ability to provide percep on-ac on enabled experiences to the learner, and it is these experiences that lead to posi ve behavioural and brain outcomes compared to tradi onal methods of learning. Our discussion highlights the understanding of VR learning with respect to individual differences, especially in spa al abili es of the learner, and how variability in spa al abili es might impact both spa al learning and language learning. FEATURES OF VR AND SITUATED LEARNING While VR has offered great promises for enhancing education, determining the specific features of VR that lead to learning success is a matter of ongoing investigation (see (8) for a discussion). Here it is important for us to separate what the VR technology provides and what the human user/learner experiences in VR environments. We first discuss the technological side and identify important features of VR. Immersion and interac on in VR VR relies on advances in digital technology to simulate realworld environments, although its applications can go beyond realworld realities, e.g. simulating Shakespeare's stages or future forestation (9). The term "VR" has been used in the literature to refer to a wide range of virtual simulations, from the more basic or primitive three-dimensional (3D) dynamic images or videos to the fully immersive VR (iVR) experiences enabled by the use of gears such as head-mounted displays, haptic gloves and treadmills. (For ease of reference, we use the term "VR" to refer to different varieties of virtual reality, including augmented and mixed reality.) First, VR can provide different degrees of immersion -a technical term used to describe the perception of being physically present in a non-physical world. In the current review, we posit that the level of immersion is determined by three main factors: 1) representational fidelity -how realistic the VR environments are designed to represent real objects and scenes, with regard to, for example, the quality of 3D models in terms of number of pixels per image and image details such as texture, colour, size and shape; 2) display fidelity -how the 3D images are presented, for example,
doi:10.37716/hbab.2020010105 fatcat:tpfmhizwinhpdczzpa74zsdo2i