Researchers from the Neuroimaging Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and Wisconsin Institute for the Discovery at University Wisconsin-Madison have developed the UW Virtual Brain Project™, producing unique, interactive, 3D narrated diagrams to help students learn about the structure and function of perceptual systems in the human brain. A new study exploring how students responded to these lessons on desktop PCs and in virtual reality (VR) offers new insights into the benefits of VR as an educational tool.
Led by Associate Professor and Director of NYUAD’s Neuroimaging Center Bas Rokers and Assistant Professor of Psychology and a Principal Investigator in the Virtual Environments Group at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at University of Wisconsin-Madison Karen Schloss, the researchers have published the findings of their work in a new paper, UW Virtual Brain Project: An immersive approach to teaching functional neuroanatomy in the journal Translational Issues in Psychological Science from the American Psychological Association (APA). In their experiments, the researchers found that participants showed significant content-based learning for both devices, with no significant differences between PC and VR devices for content-based learning outcomes. However, VR far exceeded PC viewing for achieving experience-based learning outcomes -- VR was, in other words, more enjoyable and easier to use.