Influences of Academic and Psychological Factors on the Impact of Immersive Virtual Reality for Education
Abstract: One of the challenges for educators interested in immersive VR for education is integrating such activities into the curriculum, while maximizing their impacts on student success within demanding environments such as university-level STEM courses. Panelists discussed the development of the Immersive VR Lab and how it was used to implement a semester-long sequence of virtual reality learning activities into an organic chemistry course situated in a large public university in the United States. Student perceptions of comfort, ease of use, and effectiveness for promoting understanding of organic chemistry concepts were assessed, along with course grades. First-generation college students in particular were significantly more likely to earn A or B grades, and earned significantly higher final exam grades, when randomly assigned to a section that was offered the VR activities. These impacts, as well as the systems developed by the panelists for implementing educational VR at scale, suggest ways in which institutions can support development of high-quality immersive VR for education and maximize return on investment for such projects.