Investigating the feasibility of using assessment and explanatory feedback in desktop virtual reality simulations

Authors: Guido Makransky, Richard Mayer, Anne Nøremølle, Ainara L. Cordoba, Jakob Wandall, & Mads Bonde,

There is great potential in making assessment and learning complementary. In this study, we investigated the feasibility of developing a desktop virtual reality (VR) laboratory sim- ulation on the topic of genetics, with integrated assessment using multiple choice ques- tions based on item response theory (IRT) and feedback based on the cognitive theory of multimedia learning. A pre-test post-test design was used to investigate three research questions related to: (1) students’ perceptions of assessment in the form of MC questions within the VR genetics simulation; (2) the fit of the MC questions to the assumptions of the partial credit model (PCM) within the framework of IRT; and (3) if there was a signifi- cant increase in intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, and transfer from pre- to post-test after using the VR genetics simulation as a classroom learning activity. The sample consisted of 208 undergraduate students taking a medical genetics course. The results showed that assessment items in the form of gamified multiple-choice questions were perceived by 97% of the students to lead to higher levels of understanding, and only 8% thought that they made the simulation more boring. Items within a simulation were found to fit the PCM and the results showed that the sample had a small significant increase in intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy, and a large significant increase in transfer following the genetics simu- lation. It was possible to develop assessments for online educational material and retain the relevance and connectedness of informal assessment while simultaneously serving the communicative and credibility-based functions of formal assessment, which is a great chal- lenge facing education today.

Full citation:
Makransky, G., Mayer, R., Nøremølle, A., Cordoba, A. L., Wandall, J., & Bonde, M. (2019). Investigating the feasibility of using assessment and explanatory feedback in desktop virtual reality simulations. Educational Technology Research and Development, 1-25.