2021, Volume 24, Issue 2

Special Issue on "Learning Experience Design: Embodiment, Gesture, and Interactivity in XR"

Guest Editor(s): Andri Ioannou,Kaushal Kumar Bhagat and Mina Johnson-Glenberg

Full Length Articles

Using a Summarized Lecture Material Recommendation System to Enhance Students’ Preclass Preparation in a Flipped Classroom

Christopher C. Y. Yang, Irene Y. L. Chen, Gökhan Akçapınar, Brendan Flanagan and Hiroaki Ogata

Christopher C. Y. Yang

Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, Japan // yang.yuan.57e@st.kyoto-u.ac.jp

Irene Y. L. Chen

Department of Accounting, National Changhua University of Education, Taiwan // irene@cc.ncue.edu.tw

Gökhan Akçapınar

Department of Computer Education and Instructional Technology, Hacettepe University, Turkey // gokhanakcapinar@gmail.com

Brendan Flanagan

Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies, Kyoto University, Japan // flanagan.brendanjohn.4n@kyoto-u.ac.jp

Hiroaki Ogata

Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies, Kyoto University, Japan // hiroaki.ogata@gmail.com


Research has revealed the positive effects of flipped classroom approaches on students’ learning engagement and performance compared with conventional lecture-based classrooms. However, because of a lack of out-of-class learning support, many students fail to comprehensively prepare the provided lecture materials before class. One promising solution to this problem is recommendation systems in the educational area, which have been instrumental in helping learners identify useful and relevant lecture materials that satisfy their learning needs. Thus, in this study, we propose a summarized lecture material recommendation system, which is integrated into an e-book reading system as an enhancement of the flipped classroom approach. This system helps students identify pages that contain essential knowledge that must be thoroughly studied before class. The proposed system was constructed on the basis of our previous work. In this study, a quasi-experiment was conducted in a graduate course that implemented the flipped classroom model: experimental group students learned with the proposed system, whereas the control group students had no access to the additional features. The findings of this study suggest that students who learn with the proposed recommendation system significantly outperform those who learn without the system in a flipped classroom in terms of their learning outcomes and engagement in preclass preparation.


Recommendation systems, Flipped classrooms, Preclass preparation, Learning analytics, Learning outcomes

Wei-Tsong Wang

Department of Industrial and Information Management, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan // wtwang@mail.ncku.edu.tw

Ying-Lien Lin

Department of Industrial and Information Management, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan // r38021019@gs.ncku.edu.tw


Although online learning systems (OLSs) are widely discussed with regard to most forms of higher education, they are still immature in terms of their development and compared to mainstream teaching and learning activities, and their implementation remains a challenge. Few studies have investigated the factors that contribute to students’ learning performance in the context of the adoption of OLSs in higher educational institutions. Additionally, among the handful of studies that focus on this research issue, investigating the influences of environmental factors and personal innovativeness on students’ learning performance and adoption of OLSs has received very little attention. Consequently, by integrating social cognitive theory and innovation diffusion theory, this study developed a theoretical model of OLS adoption. It empirically validated the model using data collected from 151 undergraduate students who used OLSs. The results showed that key compatibility (as an environmental factor) and personal innovativeness (as a personal factor) had significant direct and/or indirect influences on students’ learning performance and continued intentions to use OLSs. Theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.


Social cognitive theory, Innovation diffusion theory, Personal innovativeness, Compatibility, Learning performance

Lauren Eutsler

University of North Texas, TX, United States // lauren.eutsler@unt.edu

Christopher S. Long

University of North Texas, TX, United States // chris.long@unt.edu


To improve understanding of preservice teacher acceptance and integration of virtual reality into science, this study examined individual concerns to integrate virtual reality into science instruction before and after a hands-on intervention with virtual reality. Framed by the Concerns-Based Adoption Model using a mixed-method design, preservice teachers were exposed to a 5-week intervention to integrate and expand on existing VR tours and construct a personalized VR tour. Pre and post analysis of the stages of concern questionnaire show four of five preservice teachers remained focused on their personal concerns (stage 2, unsure of VR teaching demands). The fifth advanced to stage 3, management, and was interested in learning ways to implement virtual reality in the classroom. Open-ended data (survey items, science journals, focus group) illuminated concerns about the technical aspects of VR, learning engagement/satisfaction, and generation of lesson plan ideas, which influenced preservice teachers’ intention to use VR. For four of five preservice teachers, this experience increased their likelihood to use VR in the classroom, with adoption dependent on using VR with their students. Implications for teacher educators, educational researchers, administrators, and digital designers address the integration of VR, instructional planning, and usability considerations.


Curriculum design, Pedagogy, Science, Technology acceptance, Virtual reality

Kibar Sungur-Gül

Department of Science Education, Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University, Nevşehir, Turkey // k.sngr89@gmail.com

Hüseyin Ateş

Department of Science Education, Kırşehir Ahi Evran University, Kırşehir, Turkey // huseyinates_38@hotmail.com


The study aimed to understand pre-service teachers’ mobile learning readiness with Theory of Planned Behavior using external salient beliefs. There were nine hypotheses tested with a total of 533 pre-service teachers in two cities in Turkey. Several scales adapted from Cheon et al. (2012) included 10 psychological variables. The results indicated that the TPB model explained 58% of the variance in intention to adopt mobile learning. The results of structural equation modeling (SEM) showed that the proposed model of the current study has acceptable fit data. The results of the SEM revealed that attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control have significant impact on intention to adopt mobile learning. In addition, salient beliefs had an influence on the constructs of TPB. Therefore, all the hypotheses within the model were statistically supported in understanding determinants of mobile learning readiness. All in all, the study approved the effectiveness of well-structured cognitive psychological model in understanding pre-service teachers’ intention towards adoption of mobile learning in the Turkish context. The study has important implications for researchers, educators, education stakeholders, policy makers and mobile learning application designers.


Mobile learning readiness, Pre-service teachers, Theory of planned behavior

Si Zhang

Hubei Research Center for Educational Informationization, Faculty of Artificial Intelligence in Education, Central China Normal University, China // djzhangsi@mail.ccnu.edu.cn

Qianqian Gao

Hubei Research Center for Educational Informationization, Faculty of Artificial Intelligence in Education, Central China Normal University, China // 2956954801@qq.com

Yun Wen

National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore // yun.wen@nie.edu.sg

Mengsiying Li

School of Management, Wuhan College, China // 1061224142@qq.com

Qiyun Wang

National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore // qiyun.wang@nie.edu.sg


Online discourse is widely used in diverse contexts of learning and professional training, but superficial interactions and digression often occur. In the face of these problems and the large-scale unstructured text data, the traditional way of learning analytics has been challenged in terms of providing timely intervention and feedback. In this paper, a workflow for automatically detecting in-service teachers’ cognitive engagement in an online professional learning community is described. Discourse data of 1834 in-service teachers involved in a teacher professional development program was collected and processed using the Word2vec toolkit to generate lexical vectors. The method of vector space projection was used to calculate the new information contained in each post, cosine similarity was used to calculate topic relevance, and cluster analysis was used to explore in-service teachers’ discourse characteristics. Results showed that in-service teachers’ average contribution was 4.59 posts and the average length of each post was 39.47 characters in Chinese. In the mathematics online professional learning community, the average amount of new information contained in each post was 0.221 and in-service teachers’ posts contained much new information in the early stages of online discourse. Most in-service teachers’ posts were relevant to the discussion topic. Cluster analysis showed three different groups of posts with unique characteristics: high topic relevance with much new information, high topic relevance with little new information, and low topic relevance with little new information. Finally, limitations are discussed and future research directions are proposed.


Learning communities, Computer-mediated communication, Evaluation methodologies, Interactive learning environments


Learning Experience Design: Embodiment, Gesture, and Interactivity in XR

Andri Ioannou,Kaushal Kumar Bhagat and Mina Johnson-Glenberg

Andri Ioannou

Cyprus Interaction Lab, Department of Multimedia and Graphic Arts, Cyprus University of Technology and Research Centre on Interactive Media, Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies, Cyprus // andri.i.ioannou@cut.ac.cy

Kaushal Kumar Bhagat

Centre for Educational Technology, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India // kkntnu@hotmail.com

Mina C. Johnson-Glenberg

Arizona State University, Department of Psychology and Embodied Games, Tempe, AZ, USA // minaj@embodied-games.com


The concepts of embodiment and embodied learning are gaining traction in the field of education. This special issue aims to synthesize current knowledge on the design and evaluation of learning in immersive and embodied learning environments, mediated by XR (eXtended Reality) technologies. Of the 14 invited submissions, six (6) were finally accepted for publication. The collection of works in this special issue provides insights on best practices for learning experience design, based on systematic or empirical data and analysis on learning outcomes or processes.


XR, AR, VR, MR, Extended reality, Virtual reality, Augmented reality, Mixed reality, Embodied learning, Immersive learning, Learning environments

Special Issue Articles

Gesture Patterns and Learning in an Embodied XR Science Simulation

Jina Kang, Morgan Diederich, Robb Lindgren, and Michael Junokas

Jina Kang

Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences, Utah State University, USA // jina.kang@usu.edu

Morgan Diederich

Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences, Utah State University, USA // morgan.wood23@aggiemail.usu.edu

Robb Lindgren

Curriculum & Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA // robblind@illinois.edu

Michael Junokas

Media and Cinema Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA // junokasm@gmail.com


Recent research has emphasized the importance of leveraging embodied interactions for learning critical STEM concepts. ELASTIC3S—an embodied environment for learning about cross-cutting concepts (i.e., non-linear growth)—allows learners to interact with different science simulations through whole-body gestures. Technological advances in gesture recognition can track and respond to students’ gestures, however, there has been little investigation into how the gestures performed in these environments relate to subsequent learning. The need for sequential pattern recognition methods is critical in embodied learning if we are to understand how gestural interaction with a simulation facilitates learning. Using data collected via Microsoft Kinect V2 from twelve college students, we applied multivariate Dynamic Time Warping for clustering to identify gestural patterns in ELASTIC3S as evidence for embodied learning processes. Our findings showed that identified trends of simulation use were indicative of students’ struggles to understand the underlying ideas or use of the system and were associated with learning performance. These indicators can potentially be used to leverage real time, in-simulation assistance and promote a more adaptive learning experience via embodied simulations.


Embodied learning, XR Science education simulations, Gesture recognition, DTW clustering, Time series analysis

James Birt

Faculty of Society and Design, Bond University, Australia // jbirt@bond.edu.au

Nikolche Vasilevski

Faculty of Society and Design, Bond University, Australia // nvasilev@bond.edu.au


Immersive virtual reality (IVR) and mobile technologies have been identified as important in reimaging information delivery and pedagogy. This, coupled with evolving research in single (SUVR) and multiuser (MUVR) IVR environments, may enhance educational practice. However, there is limited research on the impact of such technologies on the learners’ experience in authentic learning environments, such as building information modeling in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) workflows. This paper addresses this through a study of forty-eight participants recruited from a postgraduate construction course at an Australian University to answer a research question on how mobile MUVR is more useable than mobile SUVR when experiencing building information models. A within-subjects’ experiment was performed using a mixed-methods approach assessing participant mobile IVR Usability on a 5-point Likert scale across four constructs and analysis of reflective sentiment and essays. The results show that when the participants moved from SUVR to MUVR, this significantly increased the overall perceived mobile IVR Usability. Combined with the qualitative analysis, these results suggest that MUVR influences mobile IVR Usability and an increase in learner experience. This study can be used as a launchpad for future research that will explore the causes of the evolution of the enhancement that MUVR provides, expanding beyond the scope of AEC education and industries.


Virtual reality, Mobile, Multiuser, Learning experience, Virtual reality usability

STEM Learning Experiences in VR – Challenges and Recommendations from the Learners’ and Teachers’ Perspective

Michael Holly, Johanna Pirker, Sebastian Resch, Sandra Brettschuh and Christian Gütl

Michael Holly

Graz University of Technology, Austria // michael.holly@tugraz.at

Johanna Pirker

Graz University of Technology, Austria // johanna.pirker@tugraz.at

Sebastian Resch

Graz University of Technology, Austria // sebastian.resch@tugraz.at

Sandra Brettschuh

Graz University of Technology, Austria // sandra.brettschuh@tugraz.at

Christian Gütl

Graz University of Technology, Austria // c.guetl@tugraz.at


Skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are increasingly in demand. Theoretical knowledge and formulas alone are frequently not sufficient to understand complex phenomena. Simulations are a valuable tool to support the conceptual understanding by visualizing invisible processes. The constant interaction with the learning material is an essential factor when learning with simulations and virtual worlds. Virtual reality (VR) technologies enable interaction with the virtual environment with a high intensity of immersion. Maroon is a VR platform for teaching physics and has been in development for over five years. Previous results with Maroon have already demonstrated the potential of virtual reality for learners and teachers, but also highlighted a list of potential challenges in terms of VR experience design, usability, and pedagogical concepts. Over the past six months, we have conducted user studies with a total of 85 participants, both student teachers (n = 26) and pupils (n = 59) at high schools and teacher training institutions. In this paper, we want to facilitate the difficult task of designing educational VR platforms by describing the expectations of educators and pupils.


STEM education, Virtual Reality, Interactive simulations, Immersive learning

Leilah Lyons

New York Hall of Science, New York, USA // University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois, USA // llyons@nysci.org

Aditi Mallavarapu

University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois, USA // amalla5@uic.edu


In this paper we define the concept of collective usability, a complex systems perspective on usability that positions an entire group, not an individual, as the unit of analysis. Shared XR experiences have inherent temporal and spatial properties that produce emergent, collective impacts which can impede learners’ engagement. Assembling large groups of users to test multiple design configurations is both logistically and financially impractical, however. We demonstrate the practical value of exploring the design space of an XR experience with a simple observation-informed Agent-Based Model. We used the model to explore how changes in the number of simultaneous users, and in the size, placement, and interaction duration of the proffered interactives, could affect collective access to a large-scale, mixed-reality, multi-user museum exhibit. (Collective access, an element of collective usability, is the degree to which users can gain access to each of the different interactives.) With this simple model, we explored (1) how the bottom-up propagation of individual-level design properties can affect collective outcomes, as when certain interactives’ linger times cause a bottleneck, and (2) how the top-down propagation of collective design constraints can be used to guide individual-level design, as when we determined thresholds for the “stickiness” and “repeat allure” of an interactive to improve collective access. The final design of the exhibit implemented many of the design guidelines uncovered by the model. We argue that collective usability models could be useful for addressing a range of collective usability issues, beyond collective access, for temporally and spatially sensitive XR learning environments.


Collective usability, Agent-based models, Usability methods, Informal learning, Shared XR

User Experience of a 3D Interactive Human Anatomy Learning Tool

Rawad Chaker, Mélanie Gallot, Marion Binay and Nady Hoyek

Rawad Chaker

Université Lumière Lyon 2, ISPEF, ECP, Lyon Cedex 07, France // rawad.chaker@univ-lyon2.fr

Mélanie Gallot

Université de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard, Lyon 1. Inter-university Laboratory of Human Motor Performance (LIBM - EA 7424), Villeurbanne Cedex, France // melanie.gallot@univ-lyon1.fr

Marion Binay

Université de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard, Lyon 1. Inter-university Laboratory of Human Motor Performance (LIBM - EA 7424), Villeurbanne Cedex, France // marion.binay@univ-lyon1.fr

Nady Hoyek

Université de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard, Lyon 1. Inter-university Laboratory of Human Motor Performance (LIBM - EA 7424), Villeurbanne Cedex, France // nady.hoyek@univ-lyon1.fr


Embodiment is particularly relevant for learning anatomy as the knowledge to be acquired is related to the body itself. Several tools using three-dimensional (3D) anatomical structures and avatars (e.g. augmented reality; virtual reality; immersive anatomy; 3D animations) were developed to enrich students’ experience by including gestures and body movements into learning anatomy. We developed a new interactive 3D tool that allows personal body experience and enhances spatial representation of musculoskeletal functional anatomy. Students can analyze and recreate a series of movements in real-time 3D interactive settings. This paper shows our research and development approach. Following the development of our anatomy tool, we conducted a pilot and one experiment. The pilot study aimed at evaluating users’ experience (UX) of our first prototype. Experiment I aimed at evaluating the UX of the second version of the tool two times in a pretest-training-posttest design. Students’ spatial and motor imagery abilities as well as anatomy examination results were also collected. Our results provided evidence of UX enhancement. Accordingly students appreciated mainly the tool’s hedonic (enjoyment) qualities. Overall, significant interactions were observed between students’ UX, anatomy scores and motor imagery abilities. Finally, students’ mental rotation ability predicted the increase of anatomy score. Cognitive sub-processes underlying functional human anatomy learning as well as students’ identification through the avatar are discussed.


3D tool, Anatomy, User experience, UX, Spatial ability, Motor imagery

Nikoleta Yiannoutsou

Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Sevilla, Spain // nyiannoutsou@gmail.com

Rose Johnson

University College London, UK // rosy.johnson@googlemail.com

Sara Price

University College London, UK // sara.price@ucl.ac.uk


Digital developments that foreground the sensory body and movement interaction offer new ways of engaging with mathematical ideas. Theories of embodied cognition argue for the important role of sensorimotor interaction in underpinning cognition. For visually impaired children this is particularly promising, since it provides opportunities for grounding mathematical ideas in bodily experience. The use of iVR technologies for visually impaired children is not immediately evident, given the central role of vision in immersive virtual worlds. This paper presents an iterative, design-based case study with visually impaired children to inform the pedagogical design of embodied learning experiences in iVR. Drawing from embodied pedagogy, it explores the process of implementing a classroom-based non-visual VR experience, designed to give visually impaired children an embodied experience of position in terms of Cartesian co-ordinates as they move around a virtual space. Video recordings of interaction combined with feedback from teachers and children contribute to knowledge of iVR learning applications in formal settings by discerning three types of pedagogical practices: creation of a performance space introduction of performative actions and action connected diverse perspectives.


Virtual Reality, Visually impaired children, Embodied learning, Cartesian coordinates

Starting from Volume 17 Issue 4, all published articles of the journal of Educational Technology & Society are available under Creative Commons CC-BY-ND-NC 3.0 license.