Can an Immersive Virtual Reality Simulation Increase Students’ Interest and Career Aspirations in Science?

British Journal of Educational Technology (in press)

Authors: Guido Makransky, Gustav B. Petersen & Sara Klingenberg

Abstract:
Science-related competencies are demanded in many fields, but attracting more students to scientific educations remains a challenge. This paper uses two studies to investigate the value of using Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) laboratory simulations in science education. In Study 1, 99 (52 male, 47 female) 7th (49) and 8th (50) grade students between 13 and 16 years of age used an IVR laboratory safety simulation with a pre- to post-test design. Results indicated an overall increase in interest in science and self-efficacy, but only females reported an increase in science career aspirations. Study 2 was conducted with 131 (47 male, 84 female) second (77) and third (54) year high school students aged 17 to 20 and used an experimental design to compare the value of using an IVR simulation or a video of the simulation on the topic of DNA-analysis. The IVR group reported significantly higher gains from pre- to post-test on interest, and social outcome expectations than the video group. Furthermore, both groups had significant gains in self-efficacy and physical outcome expectations, but the increase in career aspirations and self-outcome expectations did not reach statistical significance. Thus, results from the two studies suggest that appropriately developed and implemented IVR simulations can address some of the challenges currently facing science education.

Citation:
Makransky, G., Petersen G. B., & Klingenberg, S. (in press). Can an Immersive Virtual Reality Simulation Increase Students’ Interest and Career Aspirations in Science?British Journal of Educational Technology. DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12954