The impact of a usefulness intervention on students' learning achievement in a virtual biology lesson: An eye-tracking-based approach


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Background: Studies have shown that the effectiveness of virtual reality (VR) can be improved by using learning prompts (e.g., summary prompts, pretraining, and priming). However, less is known about how such learning prompts affect students' processing of the learning content within the virtual learning environment.Aims: This study aimed to shed light on students' processing of learning content in VR by analyzing their eye -movements during a virtual biology lesson after they had been primed to perceive VR as useful for learning or for daily life.Sample: Participants were 171 German students in the 10th grade from ten high schools.Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to a learning-usefulness condition (i.e., priming video highlighting VR's usefulness for learning), a daily-life-usefulness condition (i.e., priming video highlighting VR's usefulness in daily life), or a control condition (i.e., no priming video). We integrated the priming interventions at the beginning of the virtual lesson and used VR headsets with integrated eye tracking to monitor students' eye movements during the lesson. Results: When compared with the control condition, the learning-usefulness intervention positively affected students' fixation duration and saccade amplitude, which in turn were positively related to students' learning achievement. Regarding students' learning achievement, the daily-life-usefulness condition did not differ from the other two conditions. There was no difference between the three conditions in terms of interest in the virtual lesson.Conclusions: These results indicate that a brief priming intervention about VR's usefulness for learning can induce appropriate cognitive processing, which can positively affect students' learning achievement.
Virtual reality,Multimedia learning,Eye tracking,Usefulness intervention,Priming,Cognitive processing
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