What is going on at the Virtual Learning Lab?
We have recently collaborated with schools in the Greater Copenhagen area, to test out two of our simulations in VR, a lesson about the human body, and a lesson about sustainable food choices and the impacts of food on the environment. We ran most studies in the schools, but one school that already had their own VR headsets conducted the experiment on their own with ease, which is a great encouragement for running future studies this way, where possible.
The kids, ranging from 6th to 8th grade, were asked questions pre and post VR to assess their knowledge gain, but also their general enjoyment of virtual reality, and they seemed to have loved it!
Here you can see some pictures from the schools, as we take a look at the data collected, and prepare for publications.
As the University has announced in a newsletter you can see below, two teachers from our department (department of Psychology at the Faculty of Social Science) have been nominated for Teacher of the Year, an award for which students can sign up their favourite professors. One of those teachers is our very own Gudio Makransky! The final results and awarding ceremony will be held at the annual Commemoration Ceremony held on the third Friday in November. It is an event celebrating the long history of the University, with participation from University officials and the Royal Family of Denmark.
Congratulations to Guido and all the other nominees!
Virtual Learning Lab from University of Copenhagen developed a virtual reality experiment focused
on behavior sustainable for nature! The simulation will be presented in Oculus Quest, or as a desktop
application (you will not know which version you will get before starting the experiment).
You can participate if:
● you currently live in the USA
● you have access to an Oculus Quest (1 or 2). Only one participation per device.
● you have not already installed and completed the "Sustainability”
● you are at least 18 years old.
The first part of the experiment will take you approximately 30 minutes to complete (15 minutes for
simulation and 15 minutes to fill pre and post questionnaire). One week later we will send you a
follow-up questionnaire which will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.
If you complete the study, we will reimburse you with an Amazon gift card worth $10. If you fill out a
survey sent to you 1 week after participating, we will give you $15 instead. You will receive your gift
card in one month after participating.
You can start the experiment through this link
After completing the pretest survey, you will find a link where you can download either the Oculus
Quest version or desktop version (for Mac or Windows). The version of the simulation will be
randomized. After completion of the simulation, you will be asked to finish the survey on your
The study, its procedures, and data policy have been ethically approved by the relevant board at the
University of Copenhagen.
Please do not hesitate to contact the corresponding researcher, Adela Plechata, directly at
Thank you for your help!
Our next online study is looking for participants! It is the thesis work of Giorgos Petkakis from our lab, together with his collaborator Lukasz Zajaczkowski. You can participate in their study by installing the application called "Design-a-Plant", available through SideQuest.
You can participate if:
The study will take about 30-45 minutes and is available through SideQuest here.
If you have any further questions concerning this study please feel free to contact the creators through email: Giorgos Petkakis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Lukasz Zajaczkowski at email@example.com.
We are looking for participants who have an Oculus Quest, to participate in our study about vaccine hesitancy.
The participants should (apart from owning a Quest):
- not be vaccinated against COVID19
- have not already installed and completed "The Vaccine"
- be over 18 years of age
More details on how to participate can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/.../participate_in_covid19_vr.../
We only allow one participation per Quest device.
Gustav B. Petersen from our lab has just been awarded the IDA Tech Award for his article about virtual museum experiences and learning.
IDA - the Danish Society for Engineers awards this prize to "... the author of the best executed, exciting and sensational insights about technology in the broadest sense."
Congratulations to Gustav!
You can read more about the awards here: INDSIGTER Awards
The same paper has been awarded an Honourable Mention at the 2021 CHI Conference, which you can read about here: CHI 2021 Awards | CHI 2021 (acm.org)
Our newest project in using VR to study vaccine hesitancy and herd immunity has just gotten a new website, where we present an overview of the idea, and where you can find more details about it. The website also has demo versions of the final simulation, so that you can take a look at how it will look like in the and, what we have been working on so far.
Visit the website here: Demo – VR for vaccination (vr-vax.com)
A recent paper by Martin Stolpe Andersen has been accepted to Frontiers in Psychology! In the paper he develops and validates scales for measuring cognitive load, taking into consideration the differences between in-person and online learning.
Read the preprint here: http://bit.ly/2OuA56G
A paper by our Gustav B. Petersen, Aske Mottelson and Guido Makransky is among the papers accepted for the ACM CHI Virtual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI2021).
It is an in-the-wild VR study, where participants were taken on a virtual museum tour through an exhibition about viruses. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of virtual agents (in this case virtual museum guides) on learning.
Publishing is set for May, when the conference takes place in Yokohama, Japan (virtually), but the accepted pre-print can be found here
We are extremely pleased to announce that we have received a grant from EIT Health to study the effects of VR on vaccine hesitancy.
The aim of the project is to communicate the topic of herd immunity among people, who might be hesitant when it comes to vaccinating themselves, but might change their perspective when they understand the importance of creating herd immunity.
The simulations will be implemented to increase engagement and empathy towards those who are too young, or have a compromised immune system, and therefore cannot be vaccinated.
Vaccine hesitancy has been highlighted by the World Health Organisation among one of the biggest challenges facing global health. The topic is especially resonating among many people today, as we are trying to implement the vaccines for SARS CoV-2 (Covid-19).
The project is a collaboration between Robert Böhm from Copenhagen Personality and Social Psychology research group (CoPSY), Virtual Learning Lab, University of Copenhagen, ETH Zurich and Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
Our new theory of learning with immersive media, "The Cognitive Affective Model of Immersive Learning" - (CAMIL) is now officially published in Educational Psychology Review journal. This is a model based on empirical research, and existing educational theories in the field of immersive learning.
Read the full published article here
The model describes six factors, through which the affordances of presence and agency can lead to learning outcomes: Interest, intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, embodiment, cognitive load, and self-regulation. Thus, our model can be applied to explain the process of learning in immersive virtual reality. The CAMIL is based on the notion that media interacts with method in promoting learning: certain methods may facilitate the unique affordances of a medium, or the affordances of a medium may enable an instructional method. The model provides a valuable contribution to the field, which has expressed a need for a unifying theoretical framework to guide research, and to help educators introduce VR into their educational settings.
Last week we were conducting another set of experiments at SIMAC in Svendborg. This is the second set of experiments we were running during this project, after the pilot study we ran in July of this year. This safety project aims to explore whether virtual learning scenarios can reinforce crews' capacity to prevent and manage risks in complex situations.
As conditions on a ship are very dynamic, the goal of this project is to teach crewmen to anticipate, monitor and respond to risks as well as learn from such situations.
Using VR for such training can provide the necessary, but 'safe' environment to learn from risky situations, it can help develop skills outside of the current training opportunities, and generally prepare seafarers for situations they have not yet been exposed to, so that they are ready for them when they happen in real life.
These learning environments will hopefully allow participants to 'feel' the situations - to better remember what they have learned.
This project is part of a partnership between the Virtual Learning Lab, Maersk, SIMAC and Virsabi. The long-term focus of this partnershi[ is to identify how VR training of dynamic risk assessment can be built into seafarers learning journeys in the future. The full list of sponsors is shown below.
We now move on to assessing the results and will hopefully be able to discuss them soon.
This project is a collaborative effort between the partners mentioned below:
We are very happy to announce, that we have three manuscripts accepted for publication in the newest special section of the British Journal of Educational Technology on Immersive Virtual Reality in Education.
The three VLL papers included in this special section are:
Many novel contributions are presented in the special issue, pointing to various opportunities for future research and collaboration.
Our recent paper was chosen for presentation at The European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) conference 2020, which focuses on the implementation of research-based knowledge into real-world classroom contexts.
The paper, by Gustav B. Petersen, Sara Klingenberg, Richard E. Mayer and Guido Makransky, entitled The virtual field trip: Investigating how to optimize immersive virtual learning in climate change education, investigates how different learning strategies in virtual environments affect the process and outcomes of learning. You can find the abstract below.
Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) is being used for educational virtual field trips (VFTs) involving scenarios that may be too difficult, dangerous or expensive to experience in real life. We implemented an immersive VFT within the investigation phase of an inquiry‐based learning (IBL) climate change intervention. Students investigated the consequences of climate change by virtually traveling to Greenland and exploring albedo and greenhouse effects first hand. A total of 102 seventh and eighth grade students were randomly assigned to one of two instructional conditions: (1) narrated pretraining followed by IVR exploration or (2) the same narrated training material integrated within the IVR exploration. Students in both conditions showed significant increases in declarative knowledge, self‐efficacy, interest, STEM intentions, outcome expectations and intentions to change behavior from the pre‐ to post‐assessment. However, there was a significant difference between conditions favoring the pretraining group on a transfer test consisting of an oral presentation to a fictitious UN panel. The findings suggest that educators can choose to present important prerequisite learning content before or during a VFT. However, adding pretraining may lead to better transfer test performance, presumably because it helps reduce cognitive load while learning in IVR.
Read the full paper here.
A paper from our lab has been accepted for The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, the premier international conference of Human-Computer Interaction. This year's acceptance rate was 24%.
Our paper by Sarune Baceviciute, Aske Mottelson, Thomas Terkildsen, and Guido Makransky, entitled Investigating Representation of Text and Audio in Educational VR using Learning Outcomes and EEG, investigates how different learning content representations in virtual environments affect the process, and outcomes of learning. Find the abstract below.
This paper reports findings from a between-subjects experiment that investigates how different learning content representations in virtual environments (VE) affect the process and outcomes of learning. Seventy-eight participants were subjected to an immersive virtual reality (VR) application, where they received identical instructional information, rendered in three different formats: as text in an overlay interface, as text embedded semantically in a virtual book, or as audio. Learning outcome measures, self-reports, and an electroencephalogram (EEG) were used to compare conditions. Results show that reading was superior to listening for the learning outcomes of retention, self-efficacy, and extraneous attention. Reading text from a virtual book was reported to be less cognitively demanding, compared to reading from an overlay interface. EEG analyses show significantly lower theta and higher alpha activation in the audio condition. The findings have important implications for the design of educational VR environments.
Note: The full paper has now been published and can be found here.
We are pleased to share the acceptance of our research articles into the two highly regarded journals:
Computers in Education and Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. We particularly want to congratulate Oliver for his first publication as a lead author.
The first paper describes an experiment which compared the effect of pre-training on computer assisted instructions in different media: immersive VR and video. A significant interaction effect was found, indicating better learning only in VR after pre-training.
In the second paper, VR was investigated as a potential medium to deliver real-life lab safety training. In our experiment we tested 105 undergrad engineering students and observed better post-test learning scores in the immersive VR condition compared to Desktop VR and a hand printed instruction manual.
Last week we had the pleasure of showcasing our research at IEEEVR 2019 in Osaka, Japan.
The study we presented investigates and compares the instructional effectiveness of VR versus video as media for teaching scientific procedural knowledge. It furthermore discusses how to effectively implement VR in the classroom. Data for the study was collected from 117 high school students in Denmark, who learned about polymerase chain reaction in a virtual lab developed by Labster.
Following a year-long collaboration with Novozymes and Labster, last month our industrial PhD Fellow, Sarune Baceviciute has been on the road running user-research workshops with Novozymes employees, investigating learning effectiveness of VR tools for biotech industry training.
Working hand in hand with head scientists at Novozymes, we held a total of 12 sessions with 97 Novozymes employees in Denmark, Brazil and USA, who were trained with a specifically designed Labster simulation on the topic of the Novozymes-DSM alliance and their newly developed Balancius enzyme. Half of the participants took VR training with Labster, while the other half were trained using a traditional training method - a video presentation. The study will compare learning outcomes and psychometrics collected during and after the sessions.
We are happy to announce, that our research is being published in Learning and Instruction, and International Journal of Human Computer Studies. Congratulations to our team members Guido and Thomas, for publishing their work.
The first article used eye-tracking and EEG to investigate multi-media learning. These measurements have proven useful, and could be employed in addition to previously existing subjective measures.
You can read the article using this link:
In the second article EEG was used in combination with Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), to evaluate potential measures of presence. Such measures will hopefully influence future Games User Research.
Here's the link to the full article:
If you would like to cite our research here are the full citations:
Makransky, G., Terkildsen, T. S., & Mayer, R. E. (2019). Role of subjective and objective measures of cognitive processing during learning in explaining the spatial contiguity effect. Learning and Instruction, 61(May 2018), 23–34.
The newest research paper from our lab - "Investigating the process of learning with desktop virtual reality: A structural equation modeling approach" by Guido Makransky and Gustav Bøg Petersen has been published in Computers & Education.
Give it a read!
The paper can be found here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131519300259?dgcid=author
Good news on a cloudy Monday! Our paper - "A Gender Matching Effect in Learning with Pedagogical Agents in an Immersive Virtual Reality Science Simulation" was accepted for publishing in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning.
Authors: Guido Makransky, Philip Wismer and Richard E. Mayer.
You can read the preprint of the article at this link: https://tinyurl.com/VRLabArticle
Our research was featured in an editorial titled 'Simulated labs are booming', in the journal Nature.
The article can be found here: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06831-1
Our industrial PhD fellow - Sarune Baceviciute, has presented a paper: "How information displays influence learning in VR?" at the EARLI SIG 6&7 conference. The paper was chosen among the most promising research directions in the field of Instructional Design and Technology for 21st century learning. The paper is co-authored by Thomas Terkildsen and Guido Makransky, and explores how information representation formats could benefit learning in new immersive media.
Three members of our lab: Oliver Meyer (Student Assistant), Magnus Omdahl and Guido Makransky (Founder) were awarded with the "Best Paper Presentation" award for their paper - "Investigating the Effect of Pre-training when Learning through Immersive VR: A Media and Methods Experiment".
This paper describes an investigation of whether a lesson, presented in either immersive VR or as a video, could benefit from the pre-training principle, as a means of reducing cognitive load.
You can read the full paper here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131519301563