Published June 25, 2021 | Version Author Manuscript
Journal article Open

A Learning Experience in Inquiry-Based Physics with Immersive Virtual Reality: Student Perceptions and an Interaction Effect Between Conceptual Gains and Attitudinal Profiles

  • 1. CYENS Center of Excellence, 23 Dimarchias Square, 1016, Nicosia, Cyprus
  • 2. CYENS Center of Excellence, 23 Dimarchias Square, 1016, Nicosia, Cyprus Cyprus Interaction Lab, Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol, Cyprus


The integration of immersive virtual reality (VR) in authentic science classrooms can result in a totally new learning experience for the students. However, the effect of such a learning experience on students’ conceptual learning gains and their perceptions of the experience, while considering students’ pre-existing science- and digital technologies-related attitudinal profiles, has not been explored to date. In this study, we have enacted a 90-min technology-enhanced inquiry-based intervention with high-school students (n = 107), on the topic of the Special Theory of Relativity in a Physics course, using a learning experience design, structured around an immersive VR simulation. Firstly, we aimed at examining students’ attitudinal profiles and, secondly, at exploring the potential differences of those profiles in relation to conceptual learning gains and perceptions of the learning experience. A clustering analysis has revealed two attitudinal profiles: the low-attitudes profile (n = 48) included students with low science- and digital technologies-related attitudes, and the opposite for the high-attitudes profile (n = 59). Results from a 2 × 2 RM ANOVA indicated a statistically significant interaction between conceptual learning gains and attitudinal profiles. In addition, a one-way MANOVA test showed statistically significant differences between the two profiles in relation to students’ perceptions of the learning experience, with the students of the high-attitude profile outperforming their counterparts. We discuss our findings, focusing on the implications of students’ individual differences in learning and attitudes linked to the integration of immersive VR in inquiry-based instruction.


This work has been partly supported by the project that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 739578 (RISE – Call: H2020-WIDESPREAD-01-2016-2017-TeamingPhase2) and the Republic of Cyprus through the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy.


Tsivitanidou et al (in press) JOST_VR in physics education.pdf

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RISE – Research Center on Interactive Media, Smart System and Emerging Technologies 739578
European Commission