On the role of interaction mode and story structure in virtual reality serious games

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Educational Environmental Narrative (EEN) games in Virtual Reality (VR) provide rich, high-fidelity environments that provide a fully immersive and interactive storytelling experience for use in teaching. Yet, it is not fully known how learning experience is affected by freely exploring the environment (interaction mode) and having an explicit story structure. A randomized controlled 2×2 study with 42 adolescents was performed to correct this omission and find the effect that these two factors have on recalling important information and on how a player feels when playing a game. They explored an EEN VR game with different interaction modes (active vs passive) and story structures (explicit vs implicit) and then completed a knowledge test and standardized questionnaires, regarding their sense of presence, cognitive interest and engagement during the game. Results show that allowing players to navigate freely through the game has positive effects on cognitive interest and a feeling of presence. An implicitly structured game leads to increased recall of spatial information. However, for optimal learning of factual knowledge, guidance is beneficial.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103671
Number of pages10
JournalComputers & Education
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • serious games
  • interaction
  • virtual reality
  • story structure
  • interest
  • presence


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