Students’ Experiences in Higher Education With Virtual and Augmented Reality: A Qualitative Systematic Review

Anne-Marie DePape, Marissa Barnes, Jayme Petryschuk


Virtual reality involves 3-D computer graphics that are experienced using a desktop computer or advanced tools including head-mounted displays. Augmented reality is usually experienced on a mobile phone and involves combining real and computer-generated digital information. These platforms have been introduced into higher education settings, however, little is known about their impact on student learning. This meta-synthesis examines the experiences of higher education students with virtual and augmented reality. A thematic synthesis integrating qualitative evidence was undertaken where eight electronic databases were searched. Twenty-three articles met the inclusion criteria (n = 1,334 students) and were examined by two reviewers using a constant comparative approach. Four themes emerged: technological factors, student characteristics, learning outcomes and recommendations. Our findings indicate there are factors to consider with these platforms as well as with the learners themselves when incorporating this technology in higher education.

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