Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 1515–1529 | Cite as

A review of the use of virtual reality head-mounted displays in education and training

  • Lasse JensenEmail author
  • Flemming Konradsen


In the light of substantial improvements to the quality and availability of virtual reality (VR) hardware seen since 2013, this review seeks to update our knowledge about the use of head-mounted displays (HMDs) in education and training. Following a comprehensive search 21 documents reporting on experimental studies were identified, quality assessed, and analysed. The quality assessment shows that the study quality was below average according to the Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument, especially for the studies that were designed as user evaluations of educational VR products. The review identified a number of situations where HMDs are useful for skills acquisition. These include cognitive skills related to remembering and understanding spatial and visual information and knowledge; psychomotor skills related to head-movement, such as visual scanning or observational skills; and affective skills related to controlling your emotional response to stressful or difficult situations. Outside of these situations the HMDs had no advantage when compared to less immersive technologies or traditional instruction and in some cases even proved counterproductive because of widespread cybersickness, technological challenges, or because the immersive experience distracted from the learning task.


Virtual reality (VR) Head-mounted display (HMD) Education Training Educational technology Simulation 



The authors would like to thank Anne-Marie Mosbech Jensen from the Centre for Online and Blended Learning, University of Copenhagen for valuable feedback, and the OBL2016 programme at the University of Copenhagen for financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Data from this review will be made available by contacting the first author directly.

Human studies

No human participants were used in this study.

Conflicts of interest

The authors do not have any conflicts of interest in relation to the present work.

Supplementary material

10639_2017_9676_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (140 kb)
Online Resource 1 (PDF 140 kb)
10639_2017_9676_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (503 kb)
Online Resource 2 (PDF 503 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Online and Blended Learning, Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen KDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen KDenmark

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