VR Education Research Labs

By: Elaine Jiang

Academic Labs Specializing in VR/AR and Education

Gizmo EdTech Lab (Teachers College, Columbia University)

The Gizmo EdTech Lab "examines how innovative technologies (including virtual and mixed reality environments) can prepare students for future learning, facilitate peer learning, design relationships that act as a threshold to learning, instruction, and assessment in STEAM areas."

Most of the research involves investigating whether new technologies such as VR enhance student learning.

Relevant current projects:

  • Virtual Reality Chemistry Lab

    • "The VR Chemistry Lab is a virtual reality environment designed to mimic a real-life high school chemistry lab. It has been created to include the same instruments and laws of physics that exist in its real-life environment. Studies will be done to measure the potential for learning in the VR environment, the chronological order of when using VR is most effective, and what affordances of the VR environment are most advantageous for learning results and transfer."

  • Social Interaction: Physical vs. Virtual

    • "Previous social learning research has suggested that in technologically mediated contexts, the mere belief one is interacting with another human being rather than a computer agent leads to superior learning (Okita, Bailenson & Schwartz, 2007). Most research done on this topic, however, focuses on social interaction with virtual artifacts in virtual environments. This project suggests a shift of attention to social interaction with technological artifacts (i.e., agents and avatars) in physical environments, in the form of human-robot interaction (HRI), which might be considered as a relevant moderator variable in social learning."

Past projects:

  • All past published research can be found here.


  • Address: 260 Macy Hall. Teachers College, Columbia University. 525 West 120th Street New York, NY 10027

  • Phone: 212-678-3249

  • Email: gizmoedtech@tc.columbia.edu


Teachers College, Columbia University. "Gizmo Edtech Lab." Accessed April 30, 2018. https://www.gizmoedtech.com/.

Games Research Lab (Teachers College, Columbia University)

The CMLTD Games Research Lab "seeks to gain knowledge of human cognition, collaboration, media effects, modern culture, creativity, improvisation and other factors within games that have implications for education. Faculty and students involved with the Games Research Lab have broad-ranging interests, and the lab has resources allowing the study of video games, traditional board and card games, role-playing games, games for teaching and learning, "serious" games, media literacy, the psychology of games, and related topics."

Sample relevant publications:

  • Cai, S., Chiang, F., Suna, Y., Lin, C. & Lee, J. J. (2016). Applications of augmented reality-based natural interactive learning in magnetic field instruction. Interactive Learning Environments, 24(4).

    • "The purpose of this study is to explore the effects of using natural interaction on students’ physics learning and deep understanding compared to traditional learning tools. The 38 eighth graders who participated in this study were assigned to either an experimental group or a control group. Analysis of the results shows that the AR-based motion-sensing software can improve students’ learning attitude and learning outcome. This study provides a case for the application of AR technology in secondary physics education."

  • Tsai, F. H., Kinzer, C., Hung, K. H., Chen, C. L. A., & Hsu, I. Y. (2013). The importance and use of targeted content knowledge with scaffolding aid in educational simulation games. Interactive Learning Environments, 21(2), 116-128.

    • "We argue that to help students achieve improved learning performance, providing targeted content knowledge should be a specific focus in designing educational games; in addition, scaffolding strategies to promote the use of in-game contents should also be provided. Thus, the present study explores the effects and usage of providing three types of scaffolding aids in two versions of educational simulations with in-game contents. The results suggest that providing targeted content with scaffolding aid in educational simulation games helps students to achieve better learning performance."

All past published research can be found here.


  • Address: 50 Thorndike. Teachers College, Columbia University. 525 West 120th Street New York, NY 10027

  • Phone: 212-678-7429

  • Email: cmltdgameslab@gmail.com


Teachers College, Columbia University. "Games Research Lab." Accessed April 30, 2018. http://www.tc.columbia.edu/games-research-lab/.

Virtual Human Interaction Lab (Stanford University)

The Virtual Human Interaction Lab seeks to "understand the dynamics and implications of interactions among people in immersive virtual reality simulations (VR), and other forms of human digital representations in media, communication systems, and games. Our work is centered on using empirical, behavioral science methodologies to explore people as they interact in these digital worlds. However, oftentimes it is necessary to develop new gesture tracking systems, three-dimensional modeling techniques, or agent-behavior algorithms in order to answer these basic social questions. Consequently, we also engage in research geared towards developing new ways to produce these VR simulations."

Sample current projects:

  • Examining racism with virtual reality

    • "Achieving racial justice requires understanding racism. This project uses immersive virtual reality (IVR) to create a “virtual shoes” experience through which a participant can viscerally embody an avatar who encounters various forms of racism."

  • Learning in immersive VR

    • "A virtual classroom gives researchers the freedom to conduct experiments with complete control over the actions and appearance of virtual teachers, classmates, and surroundings. In collaboration with researchers from the Graduate School of Education, we are investigating the interactions between class subject, learning environment, and classroom makeup on participants' interest and learning in a virtual class. Through the virtual world, we are also able to precisely monitor participants’ behavior in the classroom, and look for correlations between these behaviors and learning outcomes."

All current projects can be found here.

Past projects:

  • All past published research can be found here.


  • Address: McClatchy Hall, Room 411. Department of Communication. Stanford University. Stanford, CA 94305-2050

  • Phone: 650-736-8848

  • Email: vhil@stanfordvr.com


Stanford University. "Virtual Human Interaction Lab." Accessed April 30, 2018. https://vhil.stanford.edu/.

Emerging Analytics Center (University of Arkansas, Little Rock)

The Emerging Analytics Center focuses its research "in the areas of immersive and interactive visualization for complex and big data applied to practical problems in industry, government, and research organizations." The EAC has a VR/AR team that investigates new approaches to virtual technology and how they apply to disciplines such as education, art, and medicine.

Sample current projects:

    • Anatomical Eyes

      • "Anatomical Eyes is an interactive Virtual Reality installation that allows the user to interactively dissect an annotated virtual human body. The goal is to provide users, both medical professionals in training and non-medical experts, with a tool to get a better understanding of the structure and components of a human body, and replace the experience of dissecting an actual human body with virtual reality counterpart."

    • Networked Hololens

      • "Devices like the Hololens, allow users not only to view virtual objects, but to engage with them in the context of real space. You can view and interact with realistically scaled virtual objects in physical space rather than in the purely virtual, isolated space of a VR headset. This application furthers this idea by showcasing a collaborative virtual environment. Multiple users can engage simultaneously with the same virtual objects, making real-time changes that are shared between users, all while remaining visible and engaged with one another."

All current projects can be found here.


  • Address: Emerging Analytics Center, University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 2801 South University Ave, EIT Building, 4th Floor, Little Rock, AR 72204

  • Phone: 501-569-8140

  • Email: eacinfo@ualr.edu


University of Arkansas at Little Rock. "Emerging Analytics Center" Accessed April 30, 2018. http://eac-ualr.org/index.php.

Buckeye Virtual Reality Project (The Ohio State University)

Buckeye VR is "an Ohio State University-led effort to develop and research classroom-ready VR solutions, especially for smartphone-based VR."

Their main project, Buckeye VR Electric Field View app, is available on Google Play here. It is an educational app that teaches students about electric fields.



The Ohio State University. "Buckeye VR" Accessed April 30, 2018. https://buckeyevr.osu.edu/.