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Immersive Virtual Reality in K-12 and Higher Education: A systematic review of the last decade scientific literature

Abstract

There has been an increasing interest in applying immersive virtual reality (VR) applications to support various instructional design methods and outcomes not only in K-12 (Primary and Secondary), but also in higher education (HE) settings. However, there is a scarcity of studies to provide the potentials and challenges of VR-supported instructional design strategies and/or techniques that can influence teaching and learning. This systematic review presents a variety of studies that provide qualitative and/or quantitative data to investigate the current practices with VR support focusing on students’ outcomes, performance, alongside with the benefits and challenges of this technology concerning the analysis of visual features and design elements with mobile and desktop computing devices in different learning subjects. During the selection and screening process, forty-six (n = 46) articles published from the middle of 2009 until the middle of 2020 were finally included for a detailed analysis and synthesis of which twenty-one and twenty-five in K-12 and HE, respectively. The majority of studies were focused on describing and evaluating the appropriateness or the effectiveness of the applied instructional design processes using various VR applications to disseminate their findings on user experience, usability issues, students’ outcomes, and/or learning performance. This study contributes by reviewing how instructional design strategies and techniques can potentially benefit students’ learning performance using a wide range of VR applications. It also proposes some recommendations to guide and lead effective instructional design settings in several teaching and learning contexts to outline a more accurate and up-to-date picture of the current state of literature.

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[Adapted by Moher et al. (2009)]

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Data can be accessed by contacting the first author.

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Correspondence to Nikolaos Pellas.

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Appendix: The protocol that was executed in each database

Appendix: The protocol that was executed in each database

Database Protocol Note
JSTOR ((((learn or learning or engagement or learning outcomes or learning achievements)
<in>ab) <and> ((Virtual Reality or Gaming Virtual Reality or Gaming Reality) <in>ab)) <in>ab) <and> ((qualitative or quantitative))
<and> ((school or K-12) <in>ab)) <and> (pyr >Ό 2009 <and> pyr <Ό 2020)
Search on the field “Abstract”
SCOPUS ab: ((teaching or learning or education or educational) and (Virtual Reality or Gaming Virtual Reality or Gaming Reality) and (Higher or Primary or Secondary education))
Content Type > Journal Articles
Publication Date > Between Saturday, January 01, 2009 and Thursday, March 30, 2020
Search on the fields “Abstract”, “Title” and “Keywords”
Science Direct (learning OR teach OR learn OR education OR educational) <in>
Smart Search AND (Virtual Reality or Gaming Virtual Reality or Gaming Reality) <in>
Smart Search AND (Primary OR Secondary OR K-12) <in> Smart Search AND
Date: between 2009 and 2020 AND
Limited to: PEER_REVIEWED
In Education Full Text
Search on the field “Abstract”
– Term K-12 replaced by primary or high school or middle school by restriction of the database
– Terms “teach” and “learn” suppressed limiting quantity of terms used to search the database. Variations to the terms removed were used and can be identified that did not compromise the result
ESCBO Publication Type: “Journal Articles” and Full-Text Available Search on the field “Keywords (all fields)”
ERIC (Publication Date: 2009–2020)
((Keywords: teaching OR Keywords: teach OR Keywords: learn OR Keywords:
learning OR Keywords: education OR Keywords: educational) and (Keywords:
Virtual Reality OR Keywords: Virtual Reality OR Gaming Virtual Reality OR Gaming Reality OR Keywords: qualitative and quantitative research method
OR Keywords: Higher, K-12)
Search on the field “Keywords (all fields)”
Wiley ((learning or engagement or educational)
<in>ab) <and> ((Virtual Reality or Gaming Virtual Reality or Gaming Reality) <in>ab))
<and> ((Primary or Secondary or Higher education) <in>ab)) <and> (pyr >Ό 2009 <and> pyr <Ό 2019)
– Search on the field “Abstract”
Web of Science ((learning or K-12 or Higher education)
<in>ab) <and> ((Virtual Reality or Gaming Virtual Reality or Gaming Reality) <in> ab))
<and> ((Primary or Secondary) <in>ab)) <and> (pyr >Ό 2009 <and> pyr <Ό 2020)
– Search on the field “Abstract”
IEEEXplore (learning OR teach OR learn OR education OR educational) <in>
Smart Search AND (Virtual Reality or Gaming Virtual Reality or Gaming Reality) <in>
Smart Search AND (Primary OR Secondary OR k-12) <in> Smart Search AND
Date: between 2009 and 2020 AND
Limited to: PEER_REVIEWED
In Education Full Text
Search on the field “Keywords (all fields)”

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Pellas, N., Mystakidis, S. & Kazanidis, I. Immersive Virtual Reality in K-12 and Higher Education: A systematic review of the last decade scientific literature. Virtual Reality 25, 835–861 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-020-00489-9

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Keywords

  • Immersive technologies
  • Virtual reality
  • Human–computer interface
  • Simulations
  • Systematic review