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Immersive Learning and Participatory Engagement: Connecting in the Online Classroom Through Virtual Reality

Immersive Learning and Participatory Engagement: Connecting in the Online Classroom Through Virtual Reality
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Author(s): Gesulla Cavanaugh (Nova Southeastern University, USA), Helen M. Condry (Charleston Southern University, USA), Clarissa Frances Afable (Nova Southeastern University, USA), Melissa Morris (Nova Southeastern University, USA), Santanu De (Nova Southeastern University, USA), Holly Evans Madison (Nova Southeastern University, USA), Jacqueline Marshall (Nova Southeastern University, USA), Chitra Paul Victor (Nova Southeastern University, USA)and Marsha Weiner (Nova Southeastern University, USA)
Copyright: 2023
Volume: 21
Issue: 1
Pages: 19
Source title: International Journal of Distance Education Technologies (IJDET)
Editor(s)-in-Chief: Maiga Chang (Athabasca University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/IJDET.317364

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Abstract

Guided by constructivist theory, this study examines health professions student learning and engagement in the virtual classroom (VC) setting. Students (N=52) participated in a one-week VC prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. After participation, students were surveyed to discern their impressions of the experience, including the administration of a presence questionnaire, a key indicator of virtual environment (VE) efficacy. High student presence scores were significantly correlated with the perception that the VC facilitated learning (r = .573, p = .001). Conversely, students who perceived the course content as challenging were less likely to recommend the VC as a viable alternative learning platform. Furthermore, in terms of presence, undergraduate and graduate students were not significantly different. In summary, health professions students view immersive technologies favorably and may benefit from using such platforms as alternative or supplemental learning tools regardless of their academic level.

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