JUCS - Journal of Universal Computer Science 24(2): 220-245, doi: 10.3217/jucs-024-02-0220
Comparing Learning in Virtual Reality with Learning on a 2D Screen Using Electrostatics Activities
expand article infoScott W. Greenwald, Wiley Corning, Markus Funk§, Pattie Maes
‡ MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, United States of America§ Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany
Open Access
Virtual Reality (VR) has the potential to overcome natural constraints and present things that would not be visible in the physical world. This makes the medium of VR a powerful tool for learning that allows users to become highly immersed in complex topics. In this paper, we compare a VR learning environment with a traditional 2D learning environment. To investigate the differences between VR and 2D learning environments, we designed two activities that help learners gain an intuitive understanding of concepts from electricity and magnetism.We performed an experiment comparing the learning that took place using these two variant. Although our quantitative learning measures did not reveal a significant difference between 2D and VR, VR was perceived by learners to have advantages.We did find significant quantitative differences in learners’ completion times. We share findings, based on the quantitative and qualitative feedback received, about what makes VR environments beneficial for learning about complex spatial topics, and propose corresponding design guidelines.
virtual reality (6DoF), learning environments, mixed methods, varied practice, 2D vs. VR, physics education research, simulation