TitelBeyond Comparing Learning Technologies - Experiencing Flow in Virtual Reality
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2023
Book TitleSmart Learning Environments in the Post Pandemic Era
AuthorsMulders, M
EditorSampson, DG, Ifenthaler, D, Isaías, P

Learning in Virtual Reality (VR) has become increasingly important. In this context, VR appears to be particularly conducive to affective learning, such as perspective-taking in VR actors. Previous research has often solely on investigated cause-effect relationships that focus on the direct effects of different VR technologies on learning outcomes. Little research has been conducted on the learning processes experienced while being in the VR. Therefore, the present study aims to explore the construct flow. 132 middle school students were recruited. The students were assigned to two experimental conditions (HMD vs. laptop VR). The VR content dealt with the exploration of the hiding place of Anne Frank. Questionnaires were used to collect several data including sociodemographic variables, knowledge gain, perspective-taking, evaluation, and the learning process flow. A significant main effect for the variable VR technology was uncovered averaged across all learning indicators. However, a superiority of HMD-based VR was found for the two evaluative indicators and for the affective learning indicator. For the cognitive learning indicator, the effect was reverse. Mediating effects through the experience of flow were discovered several times. Thus, the experience of flow within VR can significantly explain the cause-effect relationships between VR technology and learning outcomes, even if, for the most part, only effects for evaluative indicators could be determined. Hence, the present study indicates that the choice for or against a particular VR technology should consider the learning processes that take place in VR. Therefore, instead of simple media comparison studies, the investigation of complex interaction structures in VR is needed.

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