University of International Studies of Rome (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN21 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 9229-9236
ISBN: 978-84-09-31267-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2021.1859
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children. Children diagnosed with ADHD experience inattention, impulsive behaviour, that may hinder learning. Through VR the sense of Embodiment is favored. In fact, according to Embodied Cognition, our cognitive systems, are rooted in our sensorimotor system and therefore it is manifested through our actions/behaviour. Thus, it is expectable that a learner-centered approach such as those who use VR is aimed at maximizing the results, engagement and motivation of students, even with ADHD.

In this study we wanted to compare two trainings developed for learning history in children with ADHD: one that involved the application of traditional teaching procedures delivered by a specialized educator and one developed through the use of VR and interactive videos. We wanted to verify, by comparing the two types of teaching, which one would allow a better quality of learning and if it could guarantee an increase in motivation. In particular, the hypothesis tested in the work is that the intervention based on the use of VR can allow for better acquisition and an increase in student motivation. The training was carried out during 4 months of the second semester. At the end of each lesson, a verification was carried out using a questionnaire consisting of 5 questions and the token economy was then used for each correct answer, delivering a reinforcement after 4 positive answers for both groups. At T0, all the children had performed individual learning and, at the end of the first quarter, they filled out a history questionnaire with 90 items relating to the 9 macro-topics covered in the first quarter. At T1 all the children performed a new questionnaire of 90 items relating to the 9 macro-topics of history treated during the 4 months of training. It was thus possible to conduct an assessment between T0 and T1 aimed at evaluating whether there were differences in the percentage of correct answers.

Our results showed that the participants in both VR training and individual training with the educator showed better learning than the starting condition. In addition, our analyses also showed that the group that performed the training in VR achieved better results than group 1 (with the educator). More specifically, we found an increase both in the motivation to learn of these children, (in particular the intrinsic motivation linked to the material used) and in the active participation in the learning context, which was greater in VR training.

The literature focused on the use of VR with children with ADHD is still scarce. With our study we wanted to propose a novelty compared to previous studies by offering training in learning history through the use of VR, by including in our sample the specific category of children with ADHD. The purpose of this study was to consider the effects of training with VR for learning with children with ADHD by comparing them with individual learning training with the educator. What characterized the VR Training was mainly the active participation and the direct involvement in the learning experience. In fact, the use of VR environments offers the possibility of deeply immersing the senses of users in a wide range of experiences which involve various cognitive, affective and bodily mechanisms, also favoring Embodied Cognition.
ADHD, embodied cognition, learning, virtual reality, children.