Motivational Impact of Virtual Reality on Game-Based Learning:Comparative Study of Immersive and Non-Immersive Approaches
Tssio Silva*Centro de Informtica - UFPE
Edwin MarinhoCentro de Informtica - UFPETempest Security Intelligence
Centro de Informtica - UFPEKiev Gama
Centro de Informtica - UFPE
ABSTRACTIt is fact that technology has positively influenced educational field,like the education based on digital games. Besides that, one of thetechnologies that has gained recent notoriety is Virtual Reality, thatcan provide disruptive approaches of interaction on games. Eventhat the approach to learn using digital games is very motivating,it is not known the effectiveness of this method using immersivedevices. The usage of Virtual Reality applied to educational gamesmay improve the learning process and also represent an innovationin terms of education. This work compares the motivational impactsof the usage of immersive and non-immersive games with students,performing some experiments on NAVE Recife.
Keywords: virtual reality, education, game-based learning.
Index Terms: H.5.1 [Multimedia Information Systems]: Artificial,augmented, and virtual realities
1 INTRODUCTIONEducation based on digital games is an example of the usage of tech-nology as an educational tool . According to Resnick , digitaleducational games has been positively contributing to education andmany of students best learning experiences come when they areengaged in activities that they enjoy and cares about.
One field that has gained recent notoriety is Virtual Reality(VR) , which has peculiar characteristics that can influence ona disruptive approach for education. With new immersion devicessuch as the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR , some projects inVirtual Reality for education began to emerge, such as MissionV and Luden.io .
Although the approach to learn using digital games is very consis-tent, it is not known the effectiveness of this type of learn approachusing immersive devices. The usage of Virtual Reality applied toeducational games may improve the process of teaching and learningas well as bringing innovation in educational scope.
A comparative research based on experiments was performedin a public school in the state of Pernambuco, identifying how animmersive educational game impacts on students motivation whencompared to a non-immersive one. This research was performed inorder to obtain students perception of these two different possibili-ties of interaction.
2 BACKGROUND AND MOTIVATIONThere are several teaching methods that can be used to transmit andgenerate knowledge on students . One of the most used methodsis the traditional one, where teacher is the active subject in learning
process. On the other hand, there are some alternative approaches,which need to be heard by the students, with the intention to create amutual way of evaluation and identification of positive and negativepoints to achieve process improvement .
One of the approaches used in modern education is the digitalgame-based learning (DGBL) [1,9], that is designed with a combina-tion of challenges and entertainment through creativity. Accordingto several scientific studies, this approach has shown positive effectson education . In addition, some studies have reported that edu-cational digital games can enhance students learning interest andmotivation . For example, Wei-Heng Tsao  adopted KellersARCS motivational design framework to develop an instructionalstrategy to integrate an educational game into a traditional classroomsetting. The results showed that the motivational instruction strate-gies developed in the study are recognized by students as helpful totheir learning.
Some games are using the benefits from Virtual Reality (VR) ,experience that can be defined as any in which the user is immersedin a virtual world . This can be made by many different wayssuch as 3D caves or through the usage of head-mounted displays[3,13]. These technologies offer several possibilities for scientificexploration and innovation in different areas, including education.It make possible for example to simulate visits to museums or anyother place. It also allow students to really interact and experiencethe content that is being explored on class . Following thisscenario, this work is motivated to explore the impact of virtualreality on student motivation.
3 COMPARING APPROACHES ON NAVE RECIFEThe Ccero Dias technical school, also known as NAVE Recife, isthe result of a partnership between Oi Futuro and the educationaldepartment of the state of Pernambuco. The school also has somepartners who work in the area of technical courses, as an example ofCESAR in the digital games course [15, 16].
The usage of educational games as an engine to boost studentsmotivation in classroom has proved to be quite effective . Thisapproach is applied on NAVE Recife, where students learn regularhigh school content along with technical knowledge of digital gamesdevelopment. In addition to the innovative teaching methodology,which aims to train autonomous, competent and supportive youngpeople, the approach to learn game development has brought signif-icant results to NAVE Recife. As an example, in 2013 the schoolwinned the first place in the ENEM (national high school exam)among all schools linked to the educational secretary of the state ofPernambuco .
This context of NAVE Recife makes it possible to compare theusage of immersive and non-immersive digital games applied toeducation. This work focus on a causality-comparative question aiming to identify the impact that virtual reality has on the motivationof NAVE Recife students on learning when compared to traditionalgames.
3.1 Research Participants60 students were recruited from NAVE Recife to participate on thecomparative study. As it was mentioned before, one of the technical
2017 19th Symposium on Virtual and Augmented Reality
978-1-5386-3588-9/17 $31.00 2017 IEEEDOI 10.1109/SVR.2017.28
courses of the school is the course of game development, whichprovides a great understanding of the concept of games in general,as well as a basis to learn regular high school content, such asEnglish language.
3.2 Comparative Study MethodThe method adopted to perform this research can be described infour phases: selection of games and platforms, elaboration of thecomparative criteria, experiments and result analysis. Each of thesephases will be explained in details on the next sections.
3.2.1 Games and Platforms Selection
Focusing on perform a fair comparison, some variables were alignedbetween the objects that are being compared into this analysis and itwas selected the InCell VR game  to be used on experiments. Itis a Virtual Reality educational game that provides contents relatedto biology. This game is also provided on a traditional version formobile devices, not requiring the usage of a Virtual Reality headset.This characteristic of provide the same content on both platformswas the key to serve as basis to the comparison expected by thisresearch.
3.2.2 Comparative Criteria Definition
The comparative criteria for this research was designed to evaluatestudents motivation when they use immersive and non-immersiveeducational games. A questionnaire was elaborated based on theevaluation of educational games proposal presented on , whichis related to the ARCS motivational model, where four aspects thatare important for motivating students on learning are identified:attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction.
The questionnaire used in this work is composed by 8 questions.For the first 7 the level of agreement is asked on a scale of 0 to 5,where 0 means "I totally disagree with the statement" and 5 means"I totally agree with the statement". The last question is about userspreference among the approaches and it has multiple choices. Thequestionnaire is described in Table 1.
Table 1: Questionnaire (translated from original in Portuguese).
Q1: While I was playing, my attention was totally centered ongame.Q2: The game interface and visual components are attractive.Q3: I consider the educational game content important to mystudies.Q4: Through the game, I could learn a little bit more aboutbiology.Q5: The game raised a greater interest for contents related tobiology, cells and viruses.Q6: The game levels were difficult to complete with excellence.Q7: To level up gave me a sense of accomplishment.Q8: If you would be invited again to this task, what kind of gamewould you choose?( ) Traditional digital game. ( ) Digital virtual reality dame (egInCell VR). ( ) None of the above. ( ) Would not like to participateagain.
In the presented questionnaire, the questions 1 and 2 are related toattention. Questions 3, 4 and 5 are focusing on relevance. Question6 is about confidence. And question 7 is related to satisfaction.Experiments
Experiments are a good technique to perform a comparative studywhen variables can be controlled . The experiment was per-formed in a total of 8 hours, with the group of 60 students fromNAVE Recife. In was prepared a room with a desk to the InCell VR
game in a Samsung Gear VR device. On the same desk, the game ina non-immersive version was available on an Ipad 2.
Students came in group of two into the room and each one playedone type of game. It means that in a total of 60 students, 30 playedthe immersive game in virtual reality and 30 played the game in thetraditional style using the tablet. Users observed the initial instruc-tions and played the two first levels, with an average duration of 10minutes. After experiencing the gameplay, context and interaction,students were asked to answer the questionnaire described in theprevious section of this chapter.
3.2.3 Result Analysis
The result analysis was performed grouping the answers in threecategories. Students who answered 4 or 5 were included on a cate-gory that agree to the statement. Students who answered 2 or 3 wereconsidered neutral. Students who answered 0 or 1 were grouped ona category that disagree with the statement.
4 DISCUSSIONThis discussion follows the model that was subdivided into fourcategories: attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction .In addition to these four categories, it is also included an extra itemrelated to preference of interaction type. The items discussed herelead to build some propositions that communicate a particular viewof the research scenario. These propositions detail the impacts ofvirtual reality on each motivation aspect that was researched.
4.1 AttentionThe chart presented on Fig. 1 represents the research result for Q1,which is regarding to the attention aspect of the ARCS motivationmodel.
Figure 1: Answers for "Q1: While I was playing, my attention wastotally centered on game".
Observing the results it is perceived that Virtual Reality gameattracts more students attention than a non-immersive one. For thefirst question, almost unanimously, 29 out of 30 students stated thatwhile playing the immersive game, their attention was focused onlyon the game. On the other hand, of the students who played thetraditional game on a tablet, 23 agreed with this affirmation. Thisdifference is due to the fact that immersive games inhibit interactionwith the surrounding environment, thus allowing the student to havefull attention to the game.
The following figure (Fig. 2) presents the distribution of answersrelated to the attractiveness of game interface and visual components.
The combination of these two questions directs to the first propo-sition built specifically to the attention aspect of the games.
Proposition 01: An immersive version of a game is more effec-tive in the aspect of attention when compared to a non-immersiveone.
Based on the numbers of this second statement, it is clear thatthe interface of both systems are attractive, but a greater number ofpeople who agreed with this statement can be found in the group ofstudents who have had an immersive experience.
Figure 2: Answers for Q2: The game interface and visual componentsare attractive.
The next three charts represent the research result for the questions3, 4 and 5. All these charts are related to the relevance of the contentthat is being presented.
Figure 3: Answers for Q3: I consider the educational game contentimportant to my studies.
Figure 4: Answers for Q4: Through the game, I could learn a little bitmore about biology.
For Q3, it is possible to note that there was a greater relevanceperception of the game content among the students who had animmersive experience, although a good part of the students whoplayed the non-immersive version also agreed that the content wasrelevant to their study, which reinforces the positive factor of usingdigital games for education, moreover when they are being used inan immersive way, this approach can be even more effective.
The result concerning the second question of relevance aspect isdirectly related to learning. It is observed that the number of studentswho stated that they acquire a little knowledge through immersiveplay experience is higher by 30% compared to the students whoplayed the InCell VR on tablet.
The third affirmation of the relevance aspect demonstrates thatmore than 75% of the group of students who experienced VirtualReality were interested in learn more about the topic, in contrast,54% of the students who played the game on the tablet showed aninterest in learn more about biology, cell, and viruses. Proposition02: Relevancy points to a more effective result when students aresubjected to the usage of technology in virtual reality.
Figure 5: Answers for Q5: The game raised a greater interest forcontents related to biology, cells and viruses.
The following chart represents the research result for the statement6, which is related to the students confidence aspect.
Figure 6: Answers for Q6: The game levels were difficult to completewith excellence..
The methodology of challenging students through complex edu-cational games leads players to develop more and more the abilityto achieve great results. The statement aimed at this motivationalaspect, seeks to capture the students perception of the difficulty ofthe game. Since the game is challenging, the strategy of confidenceis most effectively enforced.
Proposition 03: There is no huge difference between immersiveand non-immersive approaches related to confidence.
Even that this was the only motivational aspect that the immer-sive version was behind the non-immersive, its difference was notsignificant.
The InCell game in Virtual Reality mode interacts through specificheadsets only with the movement of the head on the horizontalaxis, which facilitates the gameplay. On the other hand, the non-immersive interaction occurs through touches on the screen of themobile device, as in traditional games...