Affordances that Lead to learning

Virtual Immersive Environments (VIEs) offer unique affordances that can promote learning in various contexts.

Immersion and Presence: VIEs provide a high level of immersion and presence, allowing learners to feel as if they are physically present in the environment. This sense of presence can enhance learning by promoting engagement and interest in the content. For example, Liou et al. (2017) found that students who participated in a VIE-based physics lesson reported higher engagement and interest in the topic than those who participated in a traditional classroom setting.

Interactivity and Feedback: VIEs allow for a high level of interactivity and feedback, which can enhance learning by providing opportunities for exploration and experimentation. For example, in a study by Cho and Park (2023), students who participated in a VIE-based simulation of a water pollution scenario could experiment with different scenarios and receive immediate feedback on the outcomes of their choices.

Collaboration and Communication: VIEs provide opportunities for collaboration and communication among learners, which can enhance learning by promoting the exchange of ideas and perspectives. For example, D'Errico (2021) found that VIEs can support collaborative learning by providing a shared virtual space where learners can work together to solve problems.

Personalization and Adaptation: VIEs can be customized to meet learners' individual needs and preferences, which can enhance learning by providing a personalized learning experience. For example, Osadchyi et al. (2018) found that a personalized VIE-based learning environment can enhance learners' engagement and motivation, leading to better learning outcomes.

Realism and Authenticity: VIEs can provide a high degree of realism and authenticity, allowing learners to explore real-world scenarios and situations in a safe and controlled environment. For example, Akhtar et al.(2014) found that VIEs can teach medical students about surgical procedures, providing a realistic and immersive learning experience that is difficult to replicate in a traditional classroom setting.

VIEs offer a range of affordances that can promote learning in various contexts. By leveraging these affordances, educators can create engaging and immersive learning experiences that promote exploration, experimentation, collaboration, and personalization. While there are still limitations and challenges to using VIEs in education, the potential benefits are significant, and further research is needed to understand how to optimize learning in VIEs fully.


Akhtar, K. S. N., Chen, A., Standfield, N. J., & Gupte, C. M. (2014). The role of simulation in developing surgical skills. Current reviews in musculoskeletal medicine, 7, 155-160.
Cho, Y., & Park, K. S. (2023). Designing Immersive Virtual Reality Simulation for Environmental Science Education. Electronics, 12(2), 315.
Dalgarno, B., & Lee, M. J. (2010). What are the learning affordances of 3‐D virtual environments?. British journal of educational technology, 41(1), 10-32.
D'Errico, M. (2021). Immersive virtual reality as an international collaborative space for innovative simulation design. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 54, 30-34.
Liou, H. H., Yang, S. J., Chen, S. Y., & Tarng, W. (2017). The influences of the 2D image-based augmented reality and virtual reality on student learning. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 20(3), 110-121.
Osadchyi, V., Chemerys, H., Osadcha, K., Kruhlyk, V. S., Koniukhov, S., & Kiv, A. (2020). Conceptual model of learning based on the combined capabilities of augmented and virtual reality technologies with adaptive learning systems. In Ceur workshop proceedings (Vol. 2731, pp. 328-340).

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