What is going on at the Virtual Learning Lab?

Our "Cognitive Affective Model of Immersive Learning" accepted for publishing

November 17, 2020
Virtual Learning Lab

Our new theory of learning with immersive media, "The Cognitive Affective Model of Immersive Learning" - (CAMIL), has been accepted for publishing in the Educational Psychology Review journal. This is a model based on empirical research, and existing educational theories in the field of immersive learning. 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.

The full paper describing the model, external factors that influence it, and implications for instructional design can be found here in the form of a pre-print as it awaits publishing: LINK

VR Safety Training Project with Maersk

October 18, 2020
Virtual Learning Lab

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:

Three papers published in BJET special issue on educational VR

October 14, 2020
Virtual Learning Lab

We are very happy to announce that we have three manuscripts accepted for publication in a recent 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:

  1. Petersen, G., Klingenberg, S., Mayer, R., & Makransky, G. (2020). The virtual field trip: Investigating how to optimize immersive virtual learning in climate change education. British Journal Of Educational Technology.
  2. Klingenberg, S., Mønster Jørgensen, M., Dandanell, G., Skriver, K., Mottelson, A., & Makransky, G. (2020). Investigating the Effect of Teaching as a Generative Learning Strategy when Learning through Desktop and Immersive VR: A Media and Methods Experiment. British Journal Of Educational Technology.
  3. Makransky, G., Petersen, G., & Klingenberg, S. (2020). Can an Immersive Virtual Reality Simulation Increase Students’ Interest and Career Aspirations in Science?. British Journal Of Educational Technology.

There are many novel contributions presented in the special issue, and many opportunites for future research are likewise mentioned. The editorial, for instance, points towards research ideas that still needs to be done in the field of Immersive Virtual Reality

Paper presentation at EARLI 2020

August 25, 2020
Virtual Learning Lab

We are very happy to announce that we had a paper presented 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.

Our paper by Gustav Bøg Lassen 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. 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.

Our paper accepted to CHI '20

December 10, 2019
Virtual Learning Lab

We are very happy to announce that we had a paper accepted to 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 (the paper will be published in April 2020).

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.

Our team is publishing in Computers in Education and Journal of Computer Assisted Learning

June 18, 2019
Virtual Learning Lab

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.

Our Visit to IEEEVR 2019

April 5, 2019
VIrtual Learning Lab

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.

Conducting our Research in USA, Brasil and Denmark

April 4, 2019
Virtual Learning Lab

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.

2 new articles published in Learning and Instruction and International Journal of Human Computer Studies

March 15, 2019
Virtual Learning Lab

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. The measurements can be used 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. These 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.

Our research published in Computers & Education

February 13, 2019
Virtual Learning Lab

We are so happy to announce that the research paper "Investigating the process of learning with desktop virtual reality: A structural equation modeling approach" by Guido Makransky and Gustav Bøg Petersen got published in Computers & Education.

Give it a read!

Link to the paper:

Our research is trending on Reddit

January 9, 2019
Virtual Learning Lab

New publication from our Lab in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning

November 12, 2018
Virtual Learning Lab

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 Mayer.

You can read the preprint of the article at this link:

Our research is featured in the world leading journal Nature

October 12, 2018
Virtual Learning Lab

Our research was featured in an editorial titled 'Simulated labs are booming', in the journal Nature.
The article can be found here:

Our Paper Chosen Among the Most Promising Research Directions at EARLI SIG 6&7

September 10, 2018
Virtual Learning Lab

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.

Best Paper at EARLI SIG 6 & 7 2018

August 26, 2018
Virtual Learning Lab

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".