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Haptic virtual reality and immersive learning for enhanced organic chemistry instruction


Human–Computer interaction, including technology-aided instruction, is beginning to focus on virtual reality (VR) technology due to its ability to support immersive learning, teaching through simulation, and gamification of learning. These systems can deliver high-level multisensory learning experiences that are important in the teaching of many subjects, especially those involving abstract concepts or requiring spatial skills, such as organic chemistry. Haptic experiences with VR, however, remain a challenge. In addition, development has focused on general entertainment/gaming; VR systems in chemistry implement simulations of the chemistry laboratory and other advanced systems whereas those that support safe, game-like, immersive and multisensory learning of organic chemistry with haptics at pre-university education levels are scarce. We developed the VR Multisensory Classroom (VRMC) as an immersive learning environment within a VR head-mounted display, where learners employ hand movements to build hydrocarbon molecules and experience haptic feedback through gloves with built-in sensors and hand-tracking with the Leap Motion system. We report here the evaluation of the first prototype by learners from diverse backgrounds who reported on the ability of the VRMC to support high engagement, motivation, interest and organic chemistry learning as well as diverse learning styles. The VRMC is a novel VR classroom that supports immersive learning in molecular organic chemistry with haptics for multisensory learning.

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Correspondence to Bosede Iyiade Edwards.

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Edwards, B.I., Bielawski, K.S., Prada, R. et al. Haptic virtual reality and immersive learning for enhanced organic chemistry instruction. Virtual Reality 23, 363–373 (2019).

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  • Virtual reality
  • Immersive learning
  • Haptics
  • Chemistry education
  • Organic chemistry
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Middle school science
  • Introductory chemistry
  • Hands-on learning
  • Gamification