Seeing all the facts you learned : the lived learning experience of students in a pedagogically-focused virtual reality experience
MacKay, Michael Bryan
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This thesis aimed to explore presence and learning in virtual reality through a qualitative lens. A virtual learning environment was designed and constructed that accurately mimicked the local solar system to facilitate this inquiry. Five grade nine participants were selected purposefully based on the sample criteria. Data were collected primarily through semi-structured interviews and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis methodologies. Four themes arose from the analysis, leading to the discussion of three significant findings and recommendations. A tiered approach to presence is suggested to solve the conflicts between contemporary presence and learning, where presence can be viewed as the cognitive acceptance of a virtual event, not as real, but as a reasonable facsimile. The concept of autonomy illusion is introduced, in which learners experience a sense of autonomy empowered through the virtual environment. Finally, it is recommended that the K-12 system embrace non-symbolic knowledge to help re-contextualize learning.
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