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Educational virtual environments: A ten-year review of empirical research (1999–2009)


Computers & Education Volume 56, Number 3, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This study is a ten-year critical review of empirical research on the educational applications of Virtual Reality (VR). Results show that although the majority of the 53 reviewed articles refer to science and mathematics, researchers from social sciences also seem to appreciate the educational value of VR and incorporate their learning goals in Educational Virtual Environments (EVEs). Although VR supports multisensory interaction channels, visual representations predominate. Few are the studies that incorporate intuitive interactivity, indicating a research trend in this direction. Few are the settings that use immersive EVEs reporting positive results on users’ attitudes and learning outcomes, indicating that there is a need for further research on the capabilities of such systems. Features of VR that contribute to learning such as first order experiences, natural semantics, size, transduction, reification, autonomy and presence are exploited according to the educational context and content. Presence seems to play an important role in learning and it is a subject needing further and intensive studies. Constructivism seems to be the theoretical model the majority of the EVEs are based on. The studies present real world, authentic tasks that enable context and content dependent knowledge construction. They also provide multiple representations of reality by representing the natural complexity of the world. Findings show that collaboration and social negotiation are not only limited to the participants of an EVE, but exist between participants and avatars, offering a new dimension to computer assisted learning. Little can yet be concluded regarding the retention of the knowledge acquired in EVEs. Longitudinal studies are necessary, and we believe that the main outcome of this study is the future research perspectives it brings to light.


Mikropoulos, T.A. & Natsis, A. (2011). Educational virtual environments: A ten-year review of empirical research (1999–2009). Computers & Education, 56(3), 769-780. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved June 17, 2021 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on April 19, 2013. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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