One of our main research areas is the research of educational interventions in sustainability and ecology. We have created simulations that deal with various aspects of sustainable development and green living.
See more details about the projects below.

Sustainable Eating

  1. A lady in uniform of a ranger from a national park surrounded by trees

The goal of this study is to promote a switch to more sustainable diets. It is a simulation that has an educational part, where we explain how the food industry contributes to the overall emissions, and show which foods are good or bad for the environment.

Another important part is that participants travel to the future, to see the impact of their food choices on the natural environment. This part is focused on eliciting response efficacy (showing that our actions matter).
Later, participants are asked to select foods again, this time with guidance over which are of lower environmental impact, and then they experience restoration of the environment, based on how much better their new choices were. This way we are aiming at promoting self-efficacy as well.

We have performed 3 studies using this simulation:
1. Study with Danish middle school students, where we showed that the self-efficacy part leads to a larger increase in intentions and transfer of knowledge, which is mediated via the increase in self efficacy.
2. second experiment was an online study, where we administered this simulation to 122 American residents that are Oculus Quest owners. We found a significantly large decline in dietary footprint reported one week after the intervention, which was indirectly influenced by the increase in intentions, self-efficacy and negative emotions (towards climate change).
3. The third study was with Educational Psychology students, and we show that they also decreased their dietary footprint, but here we compared it to a control group which increased the dietary footprint.

Read some of the papers related to this project here:

Waste Management

This project aims to generate new knowledge in regards to the use of the Productive Failure (the positive learning effect produced when you are allowed to fail at a task before being helped in Virtual Reality. It also focuses on how this interacts with Exaggerated Feedback (changes in the Virtual environment caused by the participant’s actions, that are shown in an exaggerated manner, e.g., showing the effects of mishandling plastic waste for 10 years, when the participant only did it once. The study’s aim is to create a better understanding of how to develop Virtual Reality simulations that positively impact learning and behaviour.

We are conducting this study as a supervised high school intervention. The format is a between-subjects 2x2 factorial design, with 4 data points: pre-survey/test, in-simulation performance, post-survey/test, and follow-up measure. The 2x2 measures are: 2x (Method: Direct instruction versus Productive Failure) x 2 (Feedback: Exaggerated feedback versus No exaggerated feedback). The waste management task itself is an exercise where the participants enter a room with waste strewn around at random, and they have to clean up this room by sorting the waste into 12 different categories (in accordance with the Copenhagen waste management standard): Bio Waste, Bulky Waste, Bulky Waste (Wood), Cardboard Waste, Electronic Waste, Glass Waste, Hazardous Waste, Metal Waste, Paper Waste, Plastic Waste, Residual Waste, Recycling Station. The Copenhagen standard also includes Bulky Waste (PVC) and Garden Waste, but these categories have been left out from the experiment.

We have been gathering the following measurements from the students: In the pre-survey, demographic information will be collected (age, grade, gender, experience with VR). We will be measuring participants self-efficacy (towards waste management; pre-survey,  post-test), participant’s response efficacy (towards waste management; pre-survey, post-test), risk perception (towards climate change; pre-survey, post-survey), a waste management knowledge test (pre-test, post-test), waste management intention (pre-survey, post-survey ); waste management behaviour (pre-survey, post-survey), cognitive load (post-survey), values (towards waste management and climate change; pre-survey, post-survey), and spatial presence (post-survey).So far we have collected data from a total of N = 134 participants, out of which 98 were male, 33 female, and 3 non-binary).

Climate Change Education

We have performed two studies about the benefits of taking a Virtual Reality field trip for climate education. Students got to experience Greenland, and see the effects of climate change first hand.

The first study investigated how to optimize virtual field trips for education. 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 behaviour from the pre- to post-assessment. However, there was a significant difference between conditions favouring the pretraining group on a transfer test consisting of an oral presentation to a fictitious UN panel.

The second study investigates the principle of immersion based on the same virtual reality intervention, but this time studied against a video of the same trip to Greenland. The HMD group scored significantly higher than the video group on presence, enjoyment, interest, and retention in an immediate and delayed post test .A structural equation model indicated that enjoyment mediated the pathway from instructional media to immediate post test, and interest mediated the pathway from instructional media to delayed post test score, indicating that these factors may play different roles in the learning process with immersive media. This work contributes to the cognitive affective model of immersive learning, and suggests that immersive lessons can have positive longitudinal effects for learning.

See papers related to this project here:

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