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Research Roundup: Immersive Learning is the Future

Exciting news, Filamentarians! This March, our VP Jennifer Javornik will be venturing to Austin, Texas, along with some of our friends from FIRST, Museum of Science, and Roblox to join a panel called “Learning in Immersive Experiences is the Future” at SXSW. If you’re headed to SXSW this year, be sure to catch this session – you don’t want to miss it! 

This upcoming event and the skyrocketing popularity of immersive learning through the metaverse have us thinking – what does current research say about the immersive learning solutions of the future?

via Giphy

If you’re wondering the same thing, you’re in the right place! Below, we’ve gathered a variety of cutting-edge research that investigates immersive learning within AR, VR, and other digital platforms. Before we jump into the research though, make sure you never miss any groundbreaking studies about game-based learning. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates on all things educational technology and video games!

Educational applications of metaverse: possibilities and limitations

In this article, researchers from Honam University in Gwangju, Korea, investigate the educational metaverse at large. They start by categorizing the metaverse into 4 types, which include augmented reality, lifelogging, mirror world, and virtual reality. You can see more details about the 4 types by checking out the figure below. These 4 types will be important throughout this research roundup since nearly every article with research surrounding the metaverse utilizes this same framework! 

via J Educ Eval Health Prof 2021;18:32

Through testing out the four types in different educational settings, the authors of this study conclude, “The potential of the metaverse as a new educational environment is suggested to be as follows: a space for new social communication; a higher degree of freedom to create and share; and the provision of new experiences and high immersion through virtualization.” 

With that established, research on the educational metaverse is nascent. The researchers also suggest that educators “… carefully analyze how students understand the metaverse, what they want to do there, why they like it, and what value they attach to their avatar in virtual reality. It is necessary to study students’ activity patterns, level of immersion in the metaverse, and its positive and negative effects on students’ learning activities” in order to be aware of any drawbacks too. 

Systematic literature review: The adaptation of distance learning process during the COVID-19 pandemic using virtual educational spaces in metaverse

Part of the reason the metaverse has garnered so much attention in educational spaces over the past few years is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, scholars from Bina Nusantara University in Jakarta, Indonesia provide results of their own study on how the metaverse affected students and teachers, along with a systematic literature review of other studies on the educational metaverse. Through their review of similar studies, the researchers found “students mostly enjoy using Metaverse as their learning method and can comprehend several lessons better when using Metaverse than traditional learning— textbook-based and face-to-face learning.” 

Echoing the previous study, these researchers also note that “[the] Metaverse has excellent potential in the future to be explored profoundly in the education field due to the development of skills in the use of technology and a significant increase in student practice scores. However, the guidance of teachers and parents is still needed so that students can avoid the disadvantages.” As we’ve mentioned before here on the Filament Games blog, game-based learning is not meant to replace teachers. Likewise, an educational metaverse’s purpose is not to completely replace real-life interaction and learning, but rather to serve as a solution to enhance and expand upon traditional learning methods!  

Utilizing the Metaverse for Learner-Centered Constructivist Education in the Post-Pandemic Era: An Analysis of Elementary School Students

This article comes from research conducted by Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, Korea. Researchers state that their goal is to “analyze the experiences and attitudes of the metaverse for learner-centered education from a constructivist perspective to determine how closely related this virtual environment is to the lives of elementary school students.” (If you’re unfamiliar with the term “constructivism,” it refers to the belief that learners build their own knowledge instead of passively absorbing it.) 

This study involves 336 elementary school students that were surveyed on 18 different factors within the metaverse. The survey showed that “on average, 97.9% of elementary school students had experiences with the metaverse, with 95.5% of them considering it closely related to their everyday life.” Researchers gathered the students’ attitudes and opinions on each of the 4 versions of the metaverse: augmented reality, lifelogging, mirror world, and virtual reality. One significant trend they found was that female students had a much higher regard for lifelogging. The authors of this study suggested that the use of lifelogging in education may be used to increase the number of women interested in STEM in the future.

A scoping review of metaverse in emergency medicine

We’ve previously covered medical applications for virtual reality and augmented reality. What does recent research show about the metaverse and healthcare education in general? Researchers at the National Chung-Hsing University in Taichung, Taiwan teamed up with the Department of Emergency Medicine from Show Chwan Memorial Hospital to investigate that question. This study produced a variety of interesting takeaways. The authors write, “[The] Metaverse in emergency medicine creates a variety of opportunities by fostering near real-time experience in emergency medicine by providing highly immersive experiences in clinical training and education, prehospital and disaster medicine, diagnosis and treatment application, and administrative affairs.” The results also found that in general, VR outperformed AR when it came to emergency medical training – but that doesn’t mean we should rule out AR, since it “holds greater potential in the classification of diagnosis and treatment application.” The researchers also found lifelogging and mirror world to be of less use than AR and VR, but they are optimistic that more helpful tools utilizing these parts of the metaverse will be developed for emergency medical education in the future. 

Immersive learning technology for ensuring quality education: Ukrainian university case

The last study included in this roundup comes from Sumy State University in Sumy, Ukraine. The authors assert that immersive education, such as AR and VR, has significant educational value. The researchers set up an AR/VR lab at the university, a space that contained AR textbooks and VR learning experiences, such as museum tours and medical simulations. Through detailing their experiences, the authors assert that immersive learning boosts the “overall quality of higher education.” They also write that immersive learning, such as their AR/VR lab, is “aimed to increase entrants’ level of interest in learning, to provide student-centered and close to natural interaction learning model, and to act as a carrier of social mission.” 

The future of digital learning is looking brighter and brighter with each year that passes! We’re eager to see more research emerge about the efficacy of all types of immersive technology. What sort of virtual learning solutions do you hope to see in 2023?  

If the solution you’re looking for doesn’t exist yet, why not create it yourself? We’re educational game developers with 18 years of industry experience, and we’re here to help your immersive learning dreams become immersive learning realities. Contact us today!

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