About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6615-6622
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.0434

Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain


D. Verbeek

The last couple of years people are starting to get really excited about Virtual Reality (VR). With their first experience they see the great promise of VR, the possibility of creating any experience we can think of. To be able to do this in the safety of the classroom sounds like there is a great potential for this technology. But what is the real effectiveness of VR in education?

To answer this question a literature study is conducted. Within this study we look at the measured effects of the use of VR. Related research is also taking into account to see what we can learn about the possible effects of learning with VR. Usually when new technology is introduced in education it is not solely based on research. Social development also plays a part. Therefore trends are taken into consideration regarding the research question.

The theoretical framework around the use of VR in an educational setting is based on the published findings of the 7th International Conference, Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality 2015. This is completed with research that contributes to these findings. To gather related research VR is studied as a form of interactive multimedia. From this point on we look at the specific features that VR has to offer in comparison to other forms of multimedia and see what the possible effects of those features are on learning. To see where VR stands based on the current trends we look at Gardner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies and the market around VR technology.

The extent of literature on using VR in education is relatively small and the focus isn’t always at the right place. There is a focus on measuring the gain of explicit knowledge, while a lot of researchers claim that VR is more effective in acquiring implicit knowledge. Or the focus is on the description of the technological characteristics of VR systems and not on the actual learning experience. There are some positive effects measured on the use of VR in education, but it’s too early for conclusions about the true effectiveness.

From related research we can find different advantages on learning. First there are the benefits of learning with multimedia. This is based on absorbing information, but VR is a full immersive experience. This way of learning in a simulation can even have a bigger effect on the learning outcomes. Due to the interactive nature of VR students can actively engage within the learning experience and receive instant feedback on their actions which can also be beneficial to learning.

In Gardner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies we can see that VR is five to ten years away from being adopted by the general public. Looking at the big investments some companies have done in VR technology this could happen sooner. Devices like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and the Playstation VR are all set to be released this year. The main market these companies focus on is the gaming industry. Because lots of students play videogames they’ll be quickly introduced with VR and the experience of being in a virtual environment. Learning in such an environment will be a logical step from the students perspective.

Combining these findings around literature on VR in an educational setting, related research and the trends on VR we can conclude that the use of VR in education could have a positive effect on learning. Therefore, although future research is necessary, we should start implementing the use of VR in education.
author = {Verbeek, D.},
series = {8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN16 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-8860-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2016.0434},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2016.0434},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {6615-6622}}
AU - D. Verbeek
SN - 978-84-608-8860-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2016.0434
PY - 2016
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2016
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN16 Proceedings
SP - 6615
EP - 6622
ER -
D. Verbeek (2016) VIRTUAL REALITY IN EDUCATION?!, EDULEARN16 Proceedings, pp. 6615-6622.