Response to readings 11/30

As K-12 and undergraduate programs continue to incorporate immersive, augmented and virtual reality technologies into lesson plans with ever greater frequency, educators seek, with ever greater rigor and exactitude, to formally assess the quality and efficacy of these tools: from defining a virtual tool’s learning outcomes, to measuring its success in achieving those outcomes, to student perceptions of immersion and usefulness. Hutson and Olsen (2022) and Makransky and Meyer (2022) demonstrate the variety of questions asked–and conceptual categories employed–in assessing augmented reality for education. Drawing theoretical principles from multimedia design, instructional design, and the cognitive-effective model of immersive learning, Makransky and Mayer highlight the importance of conceptually distinguishing between immersion–the concreteness and thoroughness of detail with which a virtual world is constructed, the experiential limits of its horizons defined by its creators—from perception, a student’s subjective sense of being submerged in that virtual world, with limited external distraction. Makransky and Meyer hypothesized that a group of middle school students taking a 360-degree, headset-enabled virtual trip to Greenland to learn about climate change would not only perceive a greater degree of immersion, interest and enjoyment compared to a group of their peers experiencing the same content in standard 2D video format, but would also perform better on immediate and later tests as a result of these higher levels of perception, interest and enjoyment. Their hypotheses validated, the authors reached the following conclusion based on their observations: “It appears that enjoyment and interest are involved in learning but in different ways. Enjoyment directly mediate[d] the results on the immediate posttest but not the delayed posttest. Alternatively, interest directly mediate[d] the results on the delayed posttest but [did not mediate] the immediate posttest” (p. 1787).