The Educational Framework for Immersive Learning
Fig. 1: The Educational Framework for Immersive Learning (based on Dengel & Mägdefrau, 2018; 2020), with assessment factor
One of the biggest problems of Immersive Learning research is that most of the time, educational processes are simplified up to the point where a mere comparison of two instructional media (e.g. an immersive experience and a non-immersive experience) leads to the conclusion that the immersive experience sometimes outperforms the non-immersive experience, sometimes not. But research shows that there are many, if not countless factors are involved in learning processes (e.g. Hattie, 2008).
The Educational Framework for Immersive Learning (EFIL) is a heuristic framework trying to explain scholastic learning outcomes with immersive experiences on a broader level and to map Immersive Learning research (Fig. 1). Based on German educational scientist Andreas Helmke’s supply-use-framework (2010), the EFIL separates the educational process into two parts: the learning supply, provided by the teacher(s) and the active use by the learner. The EFIL consists of eight factors (Dengel & Mägdefrau, 2018; 2020):
- Context: The context factors comprise all influences deriving from the learner’s family, his/her cultural, regional, educational and classroom environment, the didactical context as well as the school and classroom atmosphere. Family characteristics also include structural factors such as social class, language, and the parents’ education.
- Teacher(s): The characteristics of the teacher subsume all personal, professional, pedagogical factors contributing to or inhibiting learning. Primary factors are professional, didactical, and diagnostic expertise, classroom management competencies, personal values, goals, expectancies, and self-efficacy.
Instructional Medium: The instructional medium describes the quality of the provided material.
- Instructional Technology: The technology describes the provided level of technological immersion, the objective technological characteristics of the medium.
- Learning Design: The content of the material is designed with a certain didactical quality. An instructional medium is embedded in a larger educational setting, such as the integration in a teaching sequence.
- Perception & Interpretation: As mediating processes, the perception and interpretation of the instructional medium determines the learning activities. For immersive experiences, this comprises psychological factors such as presence/psychological immersion, embodiment, and the feeling of flow.
- Learning Potential: Factors subsumed under the learning potential moderate the effect of how the instructional supply is perceived and interpreted. Variables affiliated with the learning potential are the learner’s motivational traits, cognitive capabilities, emotional states, and previous experiences (just to name a few).
- Learning Activities: Learning activities are the direct antecedents of learning outcomes. Acquiring knowledge and skills can be understood as a process of construction as well as a process of assimilation and accommodation of existing knowledge structures.
- Learning Outcomes: Learning outcomes can relate to cognitive, affective, or psychomotor objectives. The majority of scholastic learning focuses the cognitive area. A possible taxonomy for the cognitive domain is given by Anderson and Krathwohl (2001): remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, creating.
- Assessment: The assessment factor summarizes all efforts to track learning outcomes, e.g. formative and/or summative forms of feedback, evaluations, performance data etc.
As seen in Figure 1, these factors influence each other in a simplified way that teachers provide some sort of instructional medium (an immersive experience), influenced by certain context factors. This instructional medium (including its technology and learning design) is then perceived and interpreted by learners. Dependent on their individual learning potential, they actively use the provided learning materials and induce learning activities, leading to various learning outcomes. Some of the learning activities and learning outcomes can be assessed and provide valuable insights in the individual learning process for the teacher, who then can repeat/restructure/advance their instructional materials.
J. A. Hattie, Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: New York : Routledge, 2008.
A. Dengel and J. Mägdefrau, “Immersive learning explored: Subjective and objective factors influencing learning outcomes in immersive educational virtual environments,” in Proceedings of 2018 IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering (TALE), M. J. W. Lee, Ed. [Piscataway, New Jersey]: [IEEE], 2018, pp. 608–615.
A. Dengel and J. Mägdefrau, “Immersive learning predicted: Presence, prior knowledge, and school performance influence learning outcomes in immersive educational virtual environments,” in 2020 6th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN). IEEE, 2020, pp. 163–170.
A. Helmke, Unterrichtsqualität und Lehrerprofessionalität: Diagnose, Evaluation und Verbesserung des Unterrichts, 5th ed., ser. Schule weiterentwickeln, Unterricht verbessern : Orientierungsband. Seelze-Velber: Klett Kallmeyer, 2014
D. R. Krathwohl and L. W. Anderson, L. W, Eds., A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman, 2001.