This study investigated changes in learners' motivation, engagement, performance, and spatial reasoning over time and across different levels of virtual reality (VR) immersion. Undergraduate participants explored a virtual solar system via a moderately immersive or highly immersive VR platform over three sessions. In a third condition, participants initially learned with moderate immersion and transitioned to higher immersion after the second session. Following research on novelty effects, we explored whether subjective experiences and performance would decline over time (e.g., decreasing motivation or performance) as participants became familiar with the virtual environment and tools. However, we hypothesized that transitional immersion (i.e., switching from moderate to higher immersion) might lead to a renewed sense of novelty. Results suggested that both moderate and higher levels of immersion were motivating, engaging, and supportive of learning. In contrast to predictions based on novelty effects, these outcomes did not decline overall as learners gained familiarity with the systems. However, transitional immersion emerged as a promising and testable pedagogical approach for future VR education. All participants also showed gains in spatial reasoning.
- novelty effect
- STEM education
- virtual reality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications