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Virtual Reality in Education:Focus on the Role of Emotions and Physiological Reactivity





"The fact that VR advanced technology in education influenced the emotion and physiology of the students is absolute. The experiment carried out in the research "Virtual Reality in Education: Focus on the Role of Emotions and Physiological Reactivity" by Vesisenaho, Juntunen, Häkkinen, Pöysä-Tarhonen, Fagerlund, Miakush, Parviainen, and Tiina (2019) relied on three different applications, including Google Earth, Battle Bows, and Integrated Meditation."



Research on the impact of Virtual Reality (VR) technology innovation utilization for education is always an interesting topic to talk about. A research entitled "Virtual Reality in Education: Focus on the Role of Emotions and Physiological Reactivity" written by Vesisenaho, Juntunen, Häkkinen, Pöysä-Tarhonen, Fagerlund, Miakush, Parviainen, and Tiina (2019), has succeeded in presenting the result of VR implementation in the educational domain that focuses on the role of emotions and physiological reactivity of the students. In this context, emotional and cognitive involvement significantly influence the use of VR in education.


As we all know, the natural characteristic of VR technology itself is realistic and immersive. It means users can have real experiences, even in a virtual world. The experiment carried out in the research "Virtual Reality in Education: Focus on the Role of Emotions and Physiological Reactivity" by Vesisenaho, Juntunen, Häkkinen, Pöysä-Tarhonen, Fagerlund, Miakush, Parviainen, Tiina (2019) relied on three different applications including Google Earth, Battle Bows, and Integrated Meditation. Those three exploration scenarios are the ones that become the basis for students who become the main participants in the research. To assess the emotional and physiological outcomes of the participants, the researchers applied two different methods for each outcome context.


Firstly, the Heart Rate Variability (HRV) method measures the students' physiology: the heart rate connected to all motor nerves. This method will clearly show the result of physical activities in the virtual world influencing heart rate. 5 out of 6 students who participated in the experiment experienced low heart rate during meditation and relaxation. The average of the student's heart rate during those three scenarios is 135 heartbeat per minute. This fact proves that VR usage in the educational world is influential toward the physiological reactivity of the students during the learning process.


Besides, the researchers provide several questions about the students' experiences in every session to achieve the emotional conclusion of VR usage in education. After the students finish each scenario, they will be offered several questions and some rest before entering the next scenario. The questions list includes 10 positive and 10 negative affect questions that were answered by an ordinal scale between 1 and 5. By that, the analysis results from the filling of the students are divided into two contexts: positive and negative.


Based on this filling, the students reported the lowest negative effects during the Google Earth and Guided Meditation sessions. In contrast, exploration in Bow Fight is the application with the highest negative effects. This fact will surely occur because a fight would trigger their adrenaline. One of the students who participated in the research mentioned, "It's like I'm in a nightmare. I felt like I could jump into the water. It felt like sleeping with my eyes open. The experience was so real, even though nothing seems exactly the same as the actual reality. Like loosing sense of time and place. The surrounding environment feels so real. For example, I tried sitting on a stone fence and crouching and hiding behind a low wall."


The fact that VR advanced technology in education influenced the emotions and physiology of the students is absolute. However, embedding VR in the classroom will need a central position from the educators themselves. In that context, many innovative platforms make it easy for educators to apply VR learning in the classroom. MilleaLab is a Virtual Reality Educational Technology (EdTech) Platform that has consistently moved since 2019 to disseminate the easiness impact to Indonesian education. The research on Virtual Reality in Education: Focus on the Role of Emotions and Physiological Reactivity (2019) directly proves that learning can effectively and efficiently influence students' emotions and physiology, impacting the learning process.


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