Student perceptions of virtual reality use in higher education

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This paper provides an analysis and insight into undergraduate student views concerning the use of virtual reality technology towards whether it has the potential to support and provide novel pedagogical avenues towards teaching and learning in higher education. The purpose of this paper is to ascertain student views about the application of VR technology within their degree programmes from a pedagogical perspective in addition to identifying potential challenges to VR adoption.

The research design adopted a mixed methods approach through the use of a questionnaire that was disseminated to undergraduate students studying in the discipline area of the creative industries. Through a series of open and closed questions, student views on VR adoption in higher education were analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The results were analysed statistically through a series of Mann–Whitney and Kruskal–Wallis tests. The qualitative statements were contextualised in the overall perspective of the research with the more relevant viewpoints identified to coincide with aspects of VR discovered in the literature.

The predominant findings of the research indicated that the majority of the students considered the use of VR to have useful pedagogical implications though not all findings were positive. The findings provided a sound overview of the benefits and potential drawbacks of VR use in general with a more specific focus in an educational context.

Research limitations/implications
Limitations of the research include the lack of overall generalisations that can be formed from the study due to the sample size and the fact that the results were based from one specific academic institution.

Practical implications
The findings of the research will provide educators with an insight into various perceptions of VR adoption within higher education. This will aid towards allowing them to reflect on whether VR is an appropriate tool to integrate within their curriculum and pedagogical approaches towards course delivery.

Though several studies have explored the use of VR in multiple contexts and subject areas, there still needs to be more research towards its potential drawbacks in a teaching and learning scenario and how to resolve these issues.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0106
Pages (from-to)413-424
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Higher Education
Issue number3
Early online date1 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2020


  • Virtual Reality
  • Presence
  • Engagement
  • Higher Education
  • Immersion
  • VR Technology


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