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Learning in Immersive Virtual Reality

July 1: Extended Abstract Submission Due; October 1: Invited Paper Submission Due

Published onMay 12, 2021
Learning in Immersive Virtual Reality

Special Issue on Learning in Immersive Virtual Reality

Submit Abstract

Editor-In-Chief: Danielle McNamara

Special Issue Editors: Jeremy Bailenson and Richard Mayer

Special Issue Editorial Board

Jakki Bailey

Michael Casale

Chris Dede

Aleshia Hayes

Mina Johnson

Robb Lindgren

Guido Makransky

Jocelyn Parong

Susan Persky

Anna Carolina Muller Queiroz

Andrea Stevenson Won

In Ivan Sutherland’s landmark paper from 1965, The Ultimate Display, he describes VR as a “looking glass into a mathematical wonderland”.  Indeed, one of the most discussed applications surrounding VR is using it to teach and learn. In a recent review paper (Makransky & Peterson, 2021), an analysis of research trends shows a drastic increase in academic work focusing on VR and education, with a majority of publications overall occurring in the past decade.

There are some aspects of VR and learning that are well established.  For example, procedural skills, such as training surgeons, are a great fit for VR, and meta-analyses on these types of learning tasks show great efficacy for the medium.  These findings are largely driven by the spatial aspect of VR—the ability to use one’s natural body movements to interact with a scene around them.  Another area of VR which has shown high efficacy is situations involving high states of arousal.  Soldiers and pilots who train in VR profit from the spatial aspect of the medium, but they also receive opportunities for valuable repetitions in rare, intense, teachable moments.  In this sense, presence—the psychological experience of virtual reality, which mimics reality, in turn affords practice in contexts that are hard to otherwise simulate. 

On the other hand, VR has not lived up to Sutherland’s vision when it comes to learning and knowledge acquisition in academic domains. It seems that the same presence that elevates VR in high arousal contexts interferes with learning in more typical STEM learning tasks (Bailey at al., 2012, Parong & Mayer, 2018). A number of recent studies have suggested that potential cognitive load from VR may interfere with successful encoding of new information. However, additional research is needed to better understand the degree to which interference can be attributed to inherent qualities of the medium versus potential shortcomings of currently available VR content, which may be designed by studios who don’t prioritize learning science principles.

In this Call for Papers, we invite papers that report on empirical research examining learning in VR.  In particular, we encourage submissions that describe studies that have examined:

  • features of a VR learning experience that improve learning outcomes,

  • the conditions under which learning in VR is (and is not) effective,

  • cognitive and affective processing during learning in VR,

  • large and diverse samples of participants,  

  • multiple VR scenarios in a stimulus sampling tradition,

  • repeated exposure to VR (as opposed to a single exposure),

  • learning transfer over prolonged periods of time, and/or

  • the effects of VR embedded in an overall curriculum involving other media.

Types of Submissions 

For this special issue, Technology, Mind, and Behavior is currently accepting research articles.  Studies should be near completion or complete to be considered. 

Instructions for Authors 

Authors interested in submitting a paper for this issue can do so by submitting a cover letter and a 1 to 2 page extended abstract via the journal’s website by July 1, 2021 (instructions can be found here: in your cover letter, please indicate that your submission is for the special issue on “Learning in Immersive Virtual and Augmented Realities” and describe how your proposed manuscript will meet the special issue theme. Your extended abstract should include an introduction, research questions, method, and results. Studies that are near completion should provide preliminary findings and timeline for completing the study.

Note that if authors are unclear as to whether their proposed submission would fit within the scope of the special issue Innovations in Remote Instruction, they are encouraged to email Danielle McNamara at:


Submission of Full Papers 

Proposals (i.e., extended abstracts) should be received by July 1, 2021. Abstract proposals will be reviewed by editors and notice will be given by August 1, 2021. Full submissions will be due October 1, 2021. Proposals will be reviewed and notice will be given by December 15, 2021. Note that studies with a compelling rationale for a later submission deadline will also be considered after consultation with and approval by the editors. Finally, to facilitate rapid reviews for all, which is all the more important given the likely timing constraints of much of the proposed work, we will likely ask that individuals who have submitted proposals be willing to serve as reviewers on at least one other proposal.

Open Access 

Technology, Mind, and Behavior is a Gold Open Access journal whereby articles are made open immediately upon publication, promoting broad access to the content. Publication costs are offset by article processing charges (APCs). The current APC for TMB is $1,200 USD. An article’s corresponding author is responsible for arranging such payment upon acceptance of a manuscript for publication. APCs are most often paid via support from an author’s grants, special funds including from one’s institution or department, contracts such as via the government, or one’s employer where the work was done as part of official governmental or corporate duties. If you are a resident in any European Union country, you will be expected to add Value-Added Tax (VAT) at the rate applicable in the respective country.

In cases where an author’s research was not supported by the means outlined above, the author may apply for an APC waiver. Considerations for granting a discounted APC or full waiver will be whether an author is from a country classified by the World Bank as low or lower middle income, or evidence that an author has exhausted the typical funding sources outlined in the previous paragraph. Waivers and discounts will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Authors wishing to apply for a waiver should complete the form available here: and wait up to two weeks for administrative handling. Corresponding authors should apply for the waiver upon submitting the manuscript through the peer review system. Applications are handled separately from the manuscript; the editorial team will not be made aware of any waiver requests or granted waivers.

Publication of the Issue: As Technology, Mind, and Behavior is an online-only journal, final manuscripts that are accepted will be published immediately in a rolling fashion. 

Submit Abstract


Bailey, J., Bailenson, J.N., Won, A.S., Flora, J., & Armel, K.C (2012). Presence and memory: Immersive virtual reality effects on cued recall. Proceedings of the International Society for Presence Research Annual Conference. October 24-26, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Makransky, G., Petersen, G.B. The Cognitive Affective Model of Immersive Learning (CAMIL): a Theoretical Research-Based Model of Learning in Immersive Virtual Reality. Educ Psychol Rev (2021).

Parong, J. & Mayer, R. (2018). Learning Science in Immersive Virtual Reality. Journal of Educational Psychology. 110. 10.1037/edu0000241.

Sutherland, Ivan E. (1965). "The Ultimate Display"Proceedings of IFIP Congress. pp. 506–508.


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