• Virtual Reality and Higher Education: Presence and Motivation to Learn Via Immersive Media Experiences

      Lombard, Matthew; Lombard, Matthew; Morris, Nancy, 1953-; Liao, Tony; Han, Insook (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      Although many studies have pointed out the limitations of applying more advanced technology in educational settings (Collins & Halverson, 2018; Fedorov & Levitskaya, 2015; Kozma, 1994), some studies have shown media technology enhances essential educational outcomes (Gardner, 1993; Hew & Cheung, 2010; Jensen & Konradsen, 2018; McLellan, 1994; Merchant, Goetz, Cifuentes, Keeney-Kennicutt, & Davis, 2014) and that more immersive media technology can help people to perceive events through media technology better (Bracken & Lombard, 2004; Lombard, Biocca, Freeman, IJsselsteijn, & Schaevitz, 2015; Lombard, Ditton, Grabe, & Reich, 1997; Lombard, Lee, Sun, Xu, & Yang, 2017; Lombard, Reich, Grabe, Bracken, & Ditton, 2000). These current debates lead to a question of whether providing immersive experiences can help to achieve higher goals of education and what is the psychological processes behind it. The main purpose of this dissertation is to help people exploring these debates by providing more understanding of the psychological processes behind the motivation to learn in higher education when students have more immersive media experiences. Therefore, the role of presence and information processing in HMD VR (Head Mount Display Virtual Reality) on motivation to learn were tested and analyzed with a mixed-method study incorporating a lab experiment and in-depth interviews. Theoretic backgrounds and assumptions of Risk Information Seeking Processing (Kahlor, 2007; Stern & Fineberg, 1996) and Social Cognitive Theory (Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett, & Norman, 2010; Bandura, 1982) were deployed in the study design to see whether and how HMD VR can help transformative learning (Dewey, 1938; Mezirow, 1997; Middleton, 2014; Provident et al., 2015; Stipek, 2002; Taylor, 2007). Results revealed HMD VR increased students’ Motivation To Learn significantly. The increased level of Motivation To Learn in the HMD condition was also observed in the in-depth interviews. The results support these studies that suggested the association between interactive experiences and enhanced learning outcomes (Ang & Rao, 2008; Hew & Cheung, 2010; Kaufmann, Schmalstieg, & Wagner, 2000; Martín-Gutiérrez, Mora, Añorbe-Díaz, & González-Marrero, 2017; Moreno, Mayer, Spires, & Lester, 2001; Steinberg, 2000). The results also support the effectiveness of creating more immersive learning environments under the Social Cognitive Theory framework (Bandura, 1977; Miltiadou & Savenye, 2003; Rotter, 1990) but with limited support under the Risk Information Seeking and Processing framework (Kahlor, 2007; Stern & Fineberg, 1996). These results demonstrated the relationships between presence and MTL identifying how cultural experiences trigger social responses when people make associations in their higher-order cognitive processes, suggesting para-reality interaction. In addition to the theoretic contribution, the implications of this study provide helpful suggestions and insights to create and use HMD VR content to create transformative learning experiences for students.