Knowledge gaps in the use of immersive VR applications for higher education

Our analysis has uncovered several gaps in the application of VR in the higher education sphere—for instance, learning theories were not often considered in VR application development to assist and guide toward learning outcomes. Furthermore, the evaluation of educational VR applications has primarily focused on usability of the VR apps instead of learning outcomes and immersive VR has mostly been a part of experimental and development work rather than being applied regularly in actual teaching. Jaziar Radianti and Tim Majchrzak have produced an article in the level 2 journal Computers and Education, co-authored with colleagues from University of Düisburgh-Essen and University of Liechtenstein.

Knowledge gaps in the use of immersive VR applications for higher education
Stefan Stieglitz, Jennifer Fromm, Tim Majchrzak, Isabell Wohlgenannt and Jaziar Radianti.

Our analysis has uncovered several gaps in the application of VR in the higher education sphere—for instance, learning theories were not often considered in VR application development to assist and guide toward learning outcomes. Furthermore, the evaluation of educational VR applications has primarily focused on usability of the VR apps instead of learning outcomes and immersive VR has mostly been a part of experimental and development work rather than being applied regularly in actual teaching. 

The article is published in the level 2 journal Computers & Education.

A systematic review of immersive virtual reality applications for higher education: Design elements, lessons learned, and research agenda. Jaziar Radianti, Tim A.Majchrzak, Jennifer Fromm, Isabell Wohlgenannt. Computers & Education,  Volume 147, April 2020. 

Abstract of the article

Researchers have explored the benefits and applications of virtual reality (VR) in different scenarios. VR possesses much potential and its application in education has seen much research interest lately. However, little systematic work currently exists on how researchers have applied immersive VR for higher education purposes that considers the usage of both high-end and budget head-mounted displays (HMDs). Hence, we propose using systematic mapping to identify design elements of existing research dedicated to the application of VR in higher education. The reviewed articles were acquired by extracting key information from documents indexed in four scientific digital libraries, which were filtered systematically using exclusion, inclusion, semi-automatic, and manual methods. Our review emphasizes three key points: the current domain structure in terms of the learning contents, the VR design elements, and the learning theories, as a foundation for successful VR-based learning. The mapping was conducted between application domains and learning contents and between design elements and learning contents. Our analysis has uncovered several gaps in the application of VR in the higher education sphere—for instance, learning theories were not often considered in VR application development to assist and guide toward learning outcomes. Furthermore, the evaluation of educational VR applications has primarily focused on usability of the VR apps instead of learning outcomes and immersive VR has mostly been a part of experimental and development work rather than being applied regularly in actual teaching. Nevertheless, VR seems to be a promising sphere as this study identifies 18 application domains, indicating a better reception of this technology in many disciplines. The identified gaps point toward unexplored regions of VR design for education, which could motivate future work in the field.

The article is a result of the Erasmus+ Project Virtual Reality in Higher Education