Merchant et al. 2014

Merchant, Z., E. T. Goetz, L. Cifuentes, W. Keeney-Kennicutt, and T. J. Davis, 2014. "Effectiveness of virtual reality-based instruction on students' learning outcomes in K-12 and higher education: A meta-analysis," Computers & Education 70: 29-40 (doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2013.07.033).


  • Assessment of virtual reality technology-based instruction (i.e. games, simulation, virtual worlds) in K-12 or higher education settings; all suggested as effective learning tools; games probably most effective, and students do better by themselves than in groups; too many exercises can be detrimental to the experience;

  • Provide overview of early VR in education (e.g. body-suits, CAVEs etc.); did not take off in educational setting due to cost, as well as physical and psychological discomforts; however, recent developments make VR a much more powerful tool. Particularly, when deployed as a game (for which they list a range of important variables), VR has proven a helpful and important tool for individual learning; VR contributes better to skill acquisition (a gradual process of repetition), rather than factual memorization. VR games also showed consistent results in terms of long-term effectiveness; simulations are only effective on short-term time-span and are most useful in practice sessions than stand-alone;

  • Provide no detail on software/hardware specs;