Learning with desktop virtual reality: Low spatial ability learners are more positively affected
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This study aims to verify the learning effectiveness of a desktop virtual reality (VR)-based learning environment, and to investigate the effects of desktop VR-based learning environment on learners with different spatial abilities. The learning outcome was measured cognitively through academic performance. A quasi pretest–posttest experimental design was employed for this study. A total of 431 high school students from four randomly selected schools participated in this study where they were randomly assigned to either experimental or control groups based on intact classes. Findings indicate a significant difference in the performance achievement between the two groups with students performed better using desktop virtual reality. A possible explanation is that the desktop virtual reality instructional intervention has helped to reduce extraneous cognitive load and engages learners in active processing of instructional material to increase germane cognitive load. A significant interaction effect was found between the learning mode and spatial ability with regard to the performance achievement. Further analysis shows a significant difference in the performance of low spatial ability learners in the experimental and control groups, but no statistically significant difference in the performance of high spatial learners in both groups. The results signify that low spatial ability learners' performance, compared with high spatial ability learners, appeared to be more positively affected by the desktop VR-based learning environment which is supported by the ability-as-compensator hypothesis, and can be explained by the cognitive load theory.
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