Authenticity in Immersive Design for Education

  • Jeffrey JacobsonEmail author
Part of the Smart Computing and Intelligence book series (SMCOMINT)


Authenticity, is a concept found in both media design and educational design, usually as a quality needed for success. Here, we develop a theory of authenticity for educational experiences with immersive media (VR, MR, MUVEs, etc.) to help educators and authors in this new field. In our framework, authenticity refers to the relationship between a truth and its representation, guided by a purpose. By truth, we refer to a fact, concept, or procedure, about something in the world or in the body of human knowledge, something we want to learn. To scaffold the learning process, students require a representation of the thing. It may be a written article (for concepts), an image (e.g., a photograph), or maybe an exemplar (an idealized example of a category). A representation or an experience is said to be authentic, when it successfully captures the fundamental truth of what we are learning. The immersive media have unique capabilities and just in the last few years have become available to the public on a large scale. Our theory is not a comprehensive style guide, but a practical way to look at one key dimension of good educational design.


Authenticity Elegance Pedagogy Design Immersive VR 


  1. Barab, S. A., Squire, K. D., & Dueber, W. (2000). A co-evolutionary model for supporting the emergence of authenticity. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(2), 37–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barsalou, L. W. (1992). Cognitive Psychology. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 0-8058-0691-1 (hard) 0-8058-0691-0 (pbk) of research on educational communications and technology (pp. 723–734). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Dede, C. (2012, May). Interweaving assessments into immersive authentic simulations: Design strategies for diagnostic and instructional insights. In Invitational Research Symposium on Technology Enhanced Assessments.Google Scholar
  4. Donnelly, P. (2014). Let’s get real: Authenticity in design. WorkDesign Magazine (Oct 10th, 2104).
  5. Duffy, T. M., & Jonassen, D. H. (Eds.). (2013). Constructivism and the technology of instruction: A conversation. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Engler, L., & Fijan, C. (1997). Making puppets come alive: How to learn and teach hand puppetry. Courier Corporation.Google Scholar
  7. Fowler, C. (2015). Virtual reality and learning: Where is the pedagogy? British Journal of Educational Technology, 46(2), 412–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gillam, R., & Jacobson, J. (Eds.). (2015). The Egyptian Oracle Project: Ancient ceremony in augmented reality. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. Grotzer, T. A., Powell, M. M., Derbiszewska, K. M., Courter, C. J., Kamarainen, A. M., Metcalf, S. J., et al. (2015). Turning transfer inside out: The affordances of virtual worlds and mobile devices in real world contexts for teaching about causality across time and distance in ecosystems. Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 20(1), 43–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Herrington, J., Reeves, T. C., & Oliver, R. (2009). A practical guide to authentic e-learning. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4), 607–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jacobson, J. (2011). Digital dome versus desktop display in an educational game: Gates of Horus. International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS), Special issue on educational applications, Spring, IGI Global.Google Scholar
  13. Jacobson, J. (2013). Digital dome versus desktop display; Learning outcome assessments by domain experts. International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, Fall, IGI Global.Google Scholar
  14. Kapralos, B., Moussa, F., & Dubrowski, A. (2014). An overview of virtual simulation and serious gaming for surgical education and training. In Technologies of inclusive well-being (pp. 289–306). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Kronqvist, A., Jokinen, J., & Rousi, R. (2016). Evaluating the authenticity of virtual environments. Advances in Human-Computer Interaction, 2016, 3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pantelidis, V. S. (2010). Reasons to use virtual reality in education and training courses and a model to determine when to use virtual reality. Themes in Science and Technology Education, 2(1–2), 59–70.Google Scholar
  17. Pertaub, D. P., Slater, M., & Barker, C. (2002). An experiment on public speaking anxiety in response to three different types of virtual audience presence-teleoperators and virtual. Environments, 11(1), 68–78.Google Scholar
  18. Rizzo, A. (2016). BRAVEMIND: Advancing the Virtual Iraq/Afghanistan PTSD Exposure Therapy for MST. University of Southern California Los Angeles.
  19. Shute, V., & Ventura, M. (2013). Stealth assessment: Measuring and supporting learning in video games. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  20. Strobel, J., Wang, J., Weber, N. R., & Dyehouse, M. (2013). The role of authenticity in design-based learning environments: The case of engineering education. Computers & Education, 64, 143–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Vosniadou, S., & Brewer, W. F. (1992). Mental models of the earth: A study of conceptual change in childhood. Cognitive Psychology, 24(4), 535–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEO, EnterpriseVRJamaica PlainUSA

Personalised recommendations