Majewska AA, Vereen E. Using Immersive Virtual Reality in an Online Biology Course. J STEM Educ Res. 2023 May 12:1-16

PMID: 37359318


Interest in virtual reality (VR) for teaching and learning in higher education is growing, given its many potential applications. VR offers a socially interactive environment with novel ways to engage students with materials, objects, and activities and provide students with experiences such as "field trips" that would be otherwise very difficult. Preliminary work indicates overall positive gains in student learning across disciplines compared to other technology and traditional techniques, although more studies are needed to better our understanding of this tool. We employed an "immersive" VR (with a head-mounted display) in an online course which provided students with the opportunity to interact with peers and engage in activities. We asked about perceptions of the learning experience with the technology and how using VR impacts students' performance. We also noted the benefits and challenges of VR in an online course. Students perceived VR as a helpful component of the course, although performance on the cardiovascular unit assessment did not differ compared to the previous semester without VR.