Features of Immersive Virtual Reality to Support Meaningful Chemistry Education

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One way of triggering students’ interest in chemistry is making chemistry education more meaningful. Four characteristics of meaningful chemistry education (MCE) were identified in projects that involved a redesign of curriculum materials: daily life context, the need-to-know principle, students’ input, and the macro-micro connection. Chemistry education has struggled with the implementation of meaningful learning. A possible solution might be the use of immersive virtual reality (IVR) in chemistry classrooms, a promising tool to support students’ meaningful learning. IVR can be described as a computer simulation that provides an interactive simulated virtual environment, while the user wears a head mounted display and can experience immersion and presence in a virtual environment. The aim of this study was to explore features of IVR to support MCE at a secondary school level. A systematic literature search was done, experts were consulted, and animation- and 360°-IVR lessons were designed and tested in classrooms. Features that could support MCE found in both animation-IVR and 360°-IVR were: the application of the characteristics of MCE, the necessity of a storyboard, difficulties in realizing interactive visualization, and positive student experiences. These features can be used to design future IVR lessons to support MCE. Features needing careful consideration since they are different for 360°-IVR and animation-IVR are the need for a professional designer, the degree of interactivity, and classroom use with all students at the same time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1537–1546
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number4
Early online date21 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2023


  • 360°-IVR
  • Animation-IVR
  • Characteristics of Meaningful Chemistry Education
  • IVR Features
  • Immersive Virtual Reality
  • Meaningful Chemistry Education
  • Secondary Education


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